Sarajevo – Interior Minister Aleš Hojs took part in a regional ministerial conference in Sarajevo on Thursday, advocating the strengthening of cooperation and partnership in the Western Balkans region regarding migration management and maintaining security, said the Interior Ministry.
“Geographically, the Western Balkans are a part of our continent. Although Western Balkan countries are not yet a part of the EU, they should be regarded as part of the area of shared governance in fields like security and migrations,” said Hojs.
As migration is a global phenomenon, Hojs believes that migration management should be seen as a collective responsibility.
He added that the Slovenian EU presidency would encourage the Western Balkan partners to adopt the concept of integrated border management.
This could be important not only in terms of getting closer to EU standards, but also to improve border protection and migration management before the region’s EU accession, he said.
Hojs also sees room for improvement in the conditions of receiving migrants. He recalled that EU ministers had highlighted concrete needs over the summer, such as activities against the abuse of the asylum system and smuggling of migrants.
At the conference, Hojs also spoke about the situation on the border with Belarus, as he believes that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is waging a hybrid war there.
While Hojs sees possibilities for discussion with Minsk, he is also convinced that the EU should protect its borders at all costs. This includes building fences if necessary, according to reports by Croatian news agency Hina.
On the sidelines of the conference, Hojs held a bilateral meeting with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Security Minister Selmo Cikotić.
The ministers confirmed good cooperation between the two countries, and Hojs assured Cikotić of Slovenia’s sincere support for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the EU accession process, reads a press release by the ministry.