EU-Western Balkans ministerial calls for closer cooperation to better manage migration

Brdo pri Kranju – Home affairs officials from the EU and the Western Balkans meeting at Brdo estate on Thursday agreed on the need to improve the exchange of information and cooperation on the ground in the combat against organised crime and terrorism and managing of migration, Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said after the meeting.

The minister said the discussion at the EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Forum also had ascertained that the cooperation between EU agencies and Western Balkan countries “is a two-way road”. It is not just that the agencies offer assistance but also that the countries properly apply the tools at their disposal and share their information with the EU.

But Hojs said this also required suitable financing. A large or at least a certain part of the EUR 30 billion that the EU plans to invest in the region in investment should thus be allocated for home affairs.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who addressed reporters along with Hojs, noted the importance of cooperation in managing migration as well as fighting organised crime.

“The European Commission stands ready of course with funding and expertise to work even closer together because we can only manage these challenges together. The Western Balkan countries do not only belong to Europe but they also have their future in the European Union. That’s why it’s also important that we invest in our close cooperation,” she said.

Apart from Johansson and Hojs, the ministerial forum was also attended by the relevant ministers or state secretaries from the Western Balkans as well as France and Czechia, which make part of the next presidency trio. Representatives of the relevant EU agencies also took part.

On Friday, justice ministers will meet at Brdo. The EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs is held once a year with a view to strengthening regional cooperation and neighbourly relations as well as to supporting the Western Balkan countries’ progress towards the EU.