Slovenian Interior Minister Poklukar urges Bosnia to sign deal with Frontex as illegal migration discussed
Ljubljana (STA) – Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar urged closer bilateral cooperation to fight illegal migration and called on Bosnia to sign an accord with Frontex so that the EU agency could help it protect its borders, as he met Bosnian Minister of Security Nenad Nešić in Ljubljana on Wednesday. He said that security in Europe is at stake.
“This is an important task for Bosnia-Herzegovina in moving towards European standards and EU integration,” Poklukar said about the agreement with Frontex. Nešić warned about the complexity of procedures and legislation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but is nevertheless optimistic the deal could be reached by the end of the year.
Speaking after their meeting, Poklukar said that “security has been put to a test at the moment. Developments in the Middle East are unpredictable and only cooperation between EU and Western Balkan countries can prevent threats in terms of terrorism, radicalisation and the management of illegal migration.”
Nešić said that Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a member of the EU, but the security and stability of the whole of Europe depends on it. He explained that the migration emergency in the Western Balkans was a central topic of his meeting with Poklukar. Both ministers stressed the need to strengthen police cooperation and the exchange of information and operational data between the two ministries and police forces.
They thus expressed their wish to set up a videoconference between the police chiefs of the two countries to enhance exchange of information. Poklukar also proposed a meeting of representatives of Slovenia, Italy and Croatia to be held in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. He said that Slovenia will continue to be a close ally of Bosnia on its path to the EU and NATO. “We are working at all levels to ensure that the European Council takes a decision in December to open accession negotiations with Bosnia,” he said. (8 November)
EU agreement: stricter rules for political advertising
Brussels (dpa) – Political advertising in the EU, for instance on online platforms, will be more strictly regulated in the future. Personal data may then only be used for political advertising if citizens have given their explicit consent, the EU member states and the EU Parliament announced on Tuesday night. Negotiators from both institutions had reached an agreement in principle to this effect. According to the EU states, the final technical details still need to be worked out. In addition, the plenary of the Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers still have to give their approval, but this is considered a formality.
According to the new rules, particularly sensitive personal data such as religious affiliation, skin colour or sexual orientation may no longer be used for political advertising. One of the reasons behind this is concern that such advertising could be deliberately misused and actors from third countries could interfere in elections in the EU.
The new rules also provide for more transparency. “Political advertising must be clearly labelled,” the Parliament announced. It will be easier for citizens, authorities and journalists to obtain information about who is financing political advertising and how much is being paid. In addition, the EU Commission will set up a publicly accessible database in which all online political adverts and the associated information will be stored for up to seven years.
The majority of the rules will come into force after a transitional period of 18 months. However, parts could already apply to the upcoming European Parliament elections in the middle of next year. (7 November)
European Commission calls on SpaceX to launch satellites
Brussels/Seville (Belga) – The European Commission has reached a provisional agreement with the American space company SpaceX for the launch of four satellites next year. The contract involves an amount of 180 million euros, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton confirmed after a meeting of European ministers responsible for space in Seville on Tuesday.
SpaceX will put two satellites belonging to the European satellite navigation system Galileo into Earth’s orbit with its Falcon 9 rockets in April and July. Due to delays in the development of the European Ariane 6 rockets, the Commission has to rely on the company owned by Elon Musk, who is also the owner of X, formerly Twitter.
The deal draws attention to the “launch crisis” in which the European space industry is mired due to delays with the Ariane 6 and Vega-C rockets. On Monday, member states of the European space agency ESA had already decided to release additional subsidies for these rockets, which are supposed to become strategic for Europe’s autonomous access to space.
To develop new launch vehicles in the longer term, ESA wants to organize more competition. The industry is then supposed to come up with proposals and ESA will step into the role of customer. Director Josef Aschbacher spoke of a “paradigm shift”, which would also apply to the development of a spacecraft that can deliver cargo to the International Space Station by 2028. Competition will also play a role here.
Breton supported the change of course. “The commercialisation of space activities is a priority,” the commissioner said, referring to the ever-increasing international competition. “We need to change our approach to a real risk culture.” (7 November)
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