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On 14 and 15 January 2008, the Slovenian Police hosted the members of the European Police Chiefs Task Force (EPCTF) Expanded Troika.

Apart from Director-General of the Police Jože Romšek, as Chairman of the Task Force, and representatives of Slovenia's EU Presidency, the meeting at the Hotel Mons Congress Centre in Ljubljana was attended by police chiefs or their deputies of former EU presidencies (Germany and Portugal) as well as future presidencies (France, Czech Republic and Sweden). The meeting was also attended by representatives of Europol and the EU Council General Secretariat.


The purpose of the meeting in Ljubljana was to debate the main goals of the EPCTF, which include evaluation of current projects, promoting discussion of new technologies and their significance for police units, strengthening further cooperation with other agencies such as Frontex and the Customs Cooperation Working Party (CCWP), and improvement of conditions for the operation of Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) in the new legal framework. The agenda of the meeting also included a discussion on the Organised Crime Threat Assessment for 2008 (OCTA 2008) and further legal and technical requirements for the interoperability of systems.


As part of the meeting, the Director-General of the Police, Jože Romšek, and the Director of Europol, Max-Peter Ratzel, issued a statement to the press on the meeting and the main topics of discussion.


According to Jože Romšek, who assumed the EPCTF Chairmanship for six months, the first EPCTF Expanded Troika Meeting held under the Slovenian EU Presidency was very successful: I appreciate the excellent support of Slovenian police officers and Europol, EU Council General Secretariat and the former Portuguese EU Presidency; we addressed all items on the agenda and discussed the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency. In particular, I am pleased with the excellent cooperation with the Portuguese Presidency headed by General Commander Nunes. I should also like to extend my thanks to the directors I have cooperated with in the last three years, in particular the Director of Europol and colleagues Mr Buxbaum from Austria, Mr Zierke from Germany, and colleagues from Portugal and other Member States for sharing their experience with me and my staff. The Slovenian Police have been entrusted with two important tasks during the Presidency. One of them is to provide for security during meetings and other events held in Slovenia during the Presidency; the other is to chair the meetings of the EPCTF at operational and strategic levels, which is the responsibility of the Director-General of the Slovenian Police. To sum up, the meeting was successful, the discussion was open and professional, and the proposals were valuable, especially for the next two meetings at operational and strategic levels. I would like to thank all the participants for attending the Expanded Troika Meeting in Ljubljana.

Mons5Director of Europol Max-Peter Ratzel expressed thanks for the invitation on behalf of Europol and added that the Slovenian EU Presidency, as well as the six-month Chairmanship of the EPCTF and other working parties such as the Europol Management Board by Director-General Romšek are very important. According to Mr Ratzel, one of the priorities highlighted at the meeting is the fight against crime in the Western Balkans - Slovenia plays a leading role there and is very active in that field. The fight against organised crime and terrorism is also Europol's priority. In that context he also underlined the discussion on the report relating to Southeast Europe Organised Crime Threat Assessment. In his opinion, the meeting was very constructive and took place in a friendly atmosphere. Further, Mr Ratzel was very pleased with the excellent cooperation between the Slovenian Police and Europol over the last years, especially since 2004 when Slovenia became a full member of Europol and was represented there by its own liaison officer. Mr Ratzel added that he very much appreciated the support of Director-General Romšek and his team; he praised the good cooperation of the Slovenian Police with Europol, which was also characterised by an exchange of good-quality and timely information. In addition, he praised the good preparedness of Slovenia in being able to implement the Schengen acquis and join the Schengen area.

The EPCTF is a forum where the highest police representatives of the EU Member States take strategic decisions. At EPCTF meetings, its members discuss the challenges and problems faced by all European police forces, striving to find solutions. The main purpose of each EPCTF Expanded Troika Meeting is to finalise the selection of topics to be discussed under each Presidency. At the same time, such meetings serve as preparation for two formal meetings of the task force that are held under each Presidency, i.e. the strategic meeting taking place in the Council of the EU in Brussels, and the operational meeting taking place at Europol headquarters in the Hague.