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EU's home affairs ministers: Migration flows should be managed at EU's external borders

On 12 July 2018, Minister of the Interior Vesna Györkös Žnidar attended an informal meeting of the JHA Council of the EU, which was held in Innsbruck.

According to the minister, the informal meeting represents a real shift in the EU migration policy. At the centre of ministers' discussions were the future options of migration management. The ministers agreed that measures at the EU level address migration issues much more effectively than partial solutions. »The general conclusion is that migration needs to be managed at the EU's external borders. Slovenia has been pointing this out for a while and we are glad to see that the latest Council's resolutions reflect this view« noted the minister. 


During the discussion there was general consensus among all participant states that migration flows need to take a downward trend. It is in the interest of all states to reach a political consensus regarding EU border management and asylum policy. »The EU needs to maintain a strong control of the external borders and protect them as efficiently as possible. Also, an asylum policy has to be developed that will take into consideration the EU's limitations. Most importantly, however, the status of persons entering the EU must be clear. Status checks need to take place at the external borders. If not, then we are dealing with illegal migration.« The ministers also supported the need to have in place very clear regular immigration arrangements and a strict regime of returning persons who do not qualify for EU residence. All states aim to reduce illegal immigration, secondary migration and asylum shopping, and wish to offer help only to persons in need of protection. »Anyway, the EU has to take full control of who is entering its territories and for what purpose. The external EU borders are the last line where the status of persons who wish to enter the EU can be clarified. Such approach is more sustainable than the existing regime combining uncontrolled influx of migrants and returns, which are often impossible to carry out. Immigration needs to be distinguished from international protection. Only then we can turn into reality the principles of solidarity that Europe needs so much.«

 

In the margins of the informal meeting, the minister held a meeting with the German counterpart Horst Seehofer. The German interior minister explained the measures that Germany is to introduce at the border with Austria in order to stem and better manage irregular migration as well as the measures to be proposed to Greece and Italy, i.e. the frontline states dealing with arriving migrants. »Slovenia is not at the centre of this scenario because it is not situated at the external border. Slovenia cannot be expected to carry the lion's share of the migration burden. Finally, let us not forget that there are EU member states, EU candidate states and states aspiring to enter the EU which should also fulfil their border protection and management obligations« noted the minister. 


According to the German interior minister, Germany supports an efficient and swift Dublin procedure and technical agreements that will facilitate the implementation of the Dublin Regulation. »Slovenia already has such implementation agreements in place with all its neighbouring countries. However, the important message that Germany communicated is that procedures should take place at the EU's external borders, i.e. in the frontline states. Germany's package of measures is aimed at preventing secondary migration and asylum shopping, which need to be resolved if the common European asylum is to function properly.«   


Minister Györkös Žnidar also met her counterpart from Croatia, Mr Davor Božinović. They talked about the current migration situation and the importance of police cooperation in migration management. Minister Györkös Žnidar also took the opportunity to talk to Fabrice Leggeri, the Executive Director of Frontex. They both agreed that the primary role of Frontex is to control the external border of the EU. The European Commission has announced the introduction of legal changes enhancing the mandate of Frontex in September. Slovenia will support such amendments.