Proposed Interior Minister Promises to Control Schengen Border, Strengthen Police

By , 05 Sep 2018, 09:35 AM Politics
Mr Poklukar Mr Poklukar

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STA, 4 September 2018 - Interior minister candidate Boštjan Poklukar said his priorities would be control of migration and fighting crime as he presented himself to the relevant parliamentary committee. He said he was aware that the migration pressure remained a global challenge, which was also present in Slovenia given the large number of illegal crossings of the border. 

The 47-year-old candidate who holds a master's degree in public administration, said that the legislative changes adopted in the previous government term had helped manage the migration pressure, adding that the police had shown a high level of professionalism.

Poklukar, who has been put forward by the Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ), noted that the migration flow on the border with Croatia was increasing, but believes that the police are able to manage it for the time being. He announced that the police would consistently control the Schengen border.

"I'm aware of the great responsibility Slovenia has as a Schengen country," he said, stressing that the control of the southern border was not only the task for the police, and announcing a strategy for inter-ministerial cooperation and a migration strategy.

While the coalition agreement says that the physical obstacles on the border with Croatia will be removed when the situation allows for that, Poklukar said that this was not possible at the moment given the current situation in the region.

He said that managing the migrant crisis would require more budget funds, especially because the police were facing serious staff shortages. If the situation worsens, the current number of police perhaps would not be able to provide full security to people and property.

As the staff shortage is a serious problem, Poklukar said he would look to boost the promotion of the profession of police officer among the young people. One of the priorities will also be to ensure better conditions for training of police officers, also by means of changes in the educational system.

The candidate said that he would continue to update and upgrade the equipment for police officers, and announced an open social dialogue and adequate solutions in negotiations with the public sector trade unions.

Poklukar intends to put an emphasis on severe forms of crime, organised crime and white-collar crime. He also announced improvements to computer forensics, investments in the ministry's IT system, and greater participation of the police in disaster relief efforts.

The Interior Affairs, Public Administration and Local Government Committee is yet to vote on Poklukar's bid because the hearing had to be suspended to interview the candidate for the public administration minister scheduled for noon. It is not clear yet when Poklukar's hearing will resume.

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