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Today and yesterday, the Director-General of the Police, Dr Anton Olaj, and his delegation attended the European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC) in The Hague, the Netherlands.

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This year's two-day meeting of Directors-General of Police from the EU and Schengen Area member states, customs chiefs, representatives of Europol, the European Commission and other EU agencies was co-organised by Europol and the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

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The event was also attended by Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs as the keynote speaker at the gala dinner on 29 September. "Europol is one of our most important partners in ensuring internal security. It provides us with strong operational, analytical, professional and financial support. I am pleased that the Slovenian police cooperate intensively and very well with Europol in the investigation of criminal offences," said the Minister in his address. He also highlighted the efforts of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU to reach, as soon as possible, an agreement with the European Parliament on the Europol Regulation, which will equip the agency with additional powers. "We are confident that we will reach an agreement by the end of the year," the Minister added.

Following the plenary session on the second day of the conference, the Directors-General of Police held three workshops to discuss international police cooperation (with a geostrategic focus on Afghanistan and the Western Balkans region), aspects of operational cooperation (using the example of the fight against child sexual abuse) and the challenges of policing in a digital world.

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According to the Director-General of the Slovenian Police, these are themes and issues that will continue to affect the criminal environment and will therefore continue to have a significant impact on policing. "The situation in Afghanistan makes it crucial that we discuss the potential impact on security in the EU as well. We must also put the fight against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children at the forefront of our efforts, as this is – especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic – an increasingly widespread and pressing social problem, both at the European and at the global level. Therefore, we have used this case, as well as a case of the protection against fraud of funds from the new EU financial perspective, to look at the operational aspect of contemporary criminal threats. Of course, we must not forget the technological advances that we have to adapt to on a daily basis. That is why the conference also focused on the challenges of policing in a digital world," Dr Olaj pointed out after the conference.

On this occasion, Dr Anton Olaj thanked Europol for co-organising the conference. He stressed that Europol is one of our key partners in terms of ensuring internal security, providing us and other member states with much-needed analytical, technical and financial assistance in investigations: "When it comes to international cooperation, this agency is our first channel of choice, which is reflected in the increase in the exchange of operational information year after year. The agency also plays a major role in our cooperation with neighbouring regions, in particular the Western Balkans. Organised crime is increasingly operating across borders, especially from the EU's immediate neighbourhood, and we regularly carry out joint police activities with the EU and international partners to detect and prevent the activities of criminal gangs, focusing on drug trafficking, illegal migration, trafficking in human beings, property crime, money laundering and cybercrime."

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On the margins of the conference, Dr Olaj held bilateral meetings with the Executive Director of Europol, Catherine De Bolle, and the heads of the Croatian, Czech and Lithuanian police.

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The annual Police Chiefs Convention at Europol's headquarters in The Hague also brings together a panel to select the winner of the Europol Excellence in Innovation Award from among the projects submitted.

This year, the panel, composed of representatives of the Trio Presidency police forces (Germany, Portugal, Slovenia), European Commissioner Ylva Johansson and the Executive Director of Europol, awarded the prize for the best and most innovative project in the field of security to the French police for a project on the prevention of online child sexual abuse and to the US police for a project on the prevention of cybercrime.