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EU strengthens cooperation on asylum matters and moves to secure EU’s external borders

08-03-2012 17:22:00

Mr Morten Bødskov, (left), Danish Minister for Justice and Mr Neoklis Sulikiotis, Minister for the Interior of Cyprus

Photo: Council of the European Union
JHA Boedskov

The Ministers of Home Affairs and Ministers of Integration Affairs of the EU Member States take important steps to strengthen cooperation on asylum matters and to secure EU’s external borders. The Danish Presidency succeeded in gaining support for a new tool box aimed at helping EU Member States exposed to a particular pressure from an influx of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

The Ministers of Home Affairs and Ministers of Integration Affairs of the EU Member States were gathered today in Brussels for the first formal Council Meeting on Home Affairs under Danish Presidency. Danish Minister of Justice and President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Morten Bødskov, had put the increasing pressure on EU’s external borders from asylum seekers and illegal immigrants at the top of the agenda. Furthermore, the ministers agreed on how to strengthen the Schengen cooperation.

The Council adopted a proposal from the Danish Presidency for a new common approach to solidarity in the area of asylum and migration. The common framework is to be regarded as a tool box aimed at ensuring that concrete action is taken to help Member States exposed to a particular pressure from an influx of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants. The common framework will introduce, among other initiatives, an Early Warning and Crisis Management Mechanism in order to strengthen the monitoring of migration flows and provide help on site in emergency situations.     

Furthermore, the ministers decided to strengthen the political governance in the Schengen cooperation. New bi-annual discussions among the ministers will be introduced in order to strengthen the Member States’ political governance of the cooperation. The aim of this initiative is to ensure that a firm and effective follow-up takes place at political level in cases of serious shortcomings in the cooperation.

Danish Minister of Justice and President of the JHA Council, Morten Bødskov, states:

”I am very pleased with the results of the first formal Council Meeting on Home Affairs under this Danish Presidency.

Today, we have shown the solidarity needed in order for us to tackle the challenges that the EU faces in the area of asylum and in relation to securing the Union’s external borders.

I am satisfied to see the broad support for the tool box for solidarity that I presented at the meeting. With the tool box we maintain the fundamental principles of our current cooperation on asylum matters. At the same time, we ensure that real and practical help is provided to the Member States exposed to a particular pressure from an influx of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants. This way, we also make sure that the persons concerned are treated with respect and dignity.

One of the most important tools in the new common EU tool box is the introduction of an Early Warning and Crisis Management Mechanism. The mechanism aims at preventing emergency situations where a Member State is exposed to a particular pressure from asylum seekers and illegal immigrants. Furthermore, the mechanism will ensure that concrete action is taken in order to provide speedy and effective help to the areas concerned. Stationing personnel in order to strengthen the efforts on site could be one way to provide help.

At the meeting, it was also decided that there is a need to strengthen the political governance in the Schengen cooperation. No one would question the fact that a strong Schengen cooperation is crucial in relation to securing EU’s external borders. Therefore, I am very pleased with the great support of the Council conclusions. It is important that we continue to follow the Schengen cooperation closely both at political and operational level in order to make sure that the challenges that might arise are dealt with in an efficient manner.”  

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Agenda: Lasse Boje
Phone: +45 40 16 99 17, e-mail: lon@jm.dk

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Background

Denmark holds the Presidency of The Council of The European Union during the first six months of 2012. The Council is made up of 10 Council configurations dealing with different thematic areas. The Minister of Justice is President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council.

The general purpose of the JHA Council is to ensure that the EU remains an “area with freedom, security and justice” and the Council deals with cooperation on border control, immigration, asylum, civil protection, civil law and police and criminal law matters. 

The JHA Council convenes three times during each Presidency and the meeting on 8 March 2012 is the first formal Council Meeting under the current Danish Presidency. The Danish Presidency hosted an Informal JHA Ministerial Meeting on 26-27 January 2012 in Copenhagen.