Brussels – Interior Minister Aleš Hojs addressed a virtual session of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol on Tuesday, describing Europol as a key partner in providing internal security, while identifying a revision of its mandate as one of the key priorities of Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU.
The meeting on Monday and Tuesday, organised in Brussels by the Slovenian National Assembly and the European Parliament, reviewed Europol’s activities this year and heard a presentation of Europol Draft Multiannual Programming Document for 2022-2024.
On the first day of the session, Europol executive director Catherine De Bolle presented the activities of the European Police Office, bringing attention to corruption and legal business networks being abused for criminal purposes.
Participants aired reservations about the new Europol regulation and about keeping large amounts of data, but they welcomed Europol’s role as a key information hub in support of national police forces and its role in detecting risks related to abuse of funds from the NextGenerationEU mechanism, a release from the National Assembly said.
On the second day, the session was addressed by Hojs and European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. The latter announced the launch of a trialogue on the Europol regulation revision which would enhance its powers to act. She also assured national law enforcement authorities of support.
The meeting also discussed cybercrime in the EU, with a focus on online child abuse, financial crime and corruption. According to Hojs, Slovenia has recognised the importance of the fight against child sexual abuse on the internet, and has also recognised the importance and the necessity of strengthening international cooperation in the detection and investigation of crimes in this area.
The ministry said Slovenia will hold a special ministerial meeting on the prevention, detection and investigation of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children at Brdo pri Kranju in November, which will be attended by interior ministers of the EU member states, Western Balkan countries and the US, as well as representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament and Europol.
At the conclusion of the meeting both compromise proposals to change the rules of procedure of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol were unanimously adopted after years of efforts to make parliamentary oversight of Europol more efficient in what the National Assembly described as a major success of the parliamentary dimension of the Slovenian presidency.