Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Logroño, Spain, 20 July 2023

The EU home affairs ministers took another step towards completing the Pact on Migration and Asylum this Thursday in Logroño, making progress in specifying measures aimed at streamlining and effectively managing extraordinary migratory crises.

At their informal meeting in the capital of La Rioja, they also discussed how to strengthen international cooperation against drug trafficking and security in the digital environment.

At the meeting, the member states discussed the need to push the Crisis Management Regulation forwards, the legislative piece of the Pact on Migration and Asylum that the Spanish presidency aims to finalise before the end of the current European legislature.

“There is unanimous agreement that we must act on the economic flow that feeds organised crime in order to end its activity”

Fernando Grande-MarlaskaMinister for Home Affairs of Spain

“We hope that before the end of this month we will have the Council’s position and we will also be able to start the trialogues on the Crisis Regulation. We are working on it and it is our priority”, said Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who chaired the ministerial meeting.

In an appearance together with the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, Grande-Marlaska appealed to “the generosity of all of us to face this calmly, without falling into haste and the urgencies of a tight schedule, but without stopping for a single minute”, in order to achieve a pact that he described as “necessary” and “essential”.

EU ministers also overwhelmingly shared the need to promote the external dimension of migration so that, as far as possible, prevention avoids crises and loss of life.

The impact of Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine and its impact on European security were also discussed at the meeting, where ministers reiterated the commitment and solidarity of the member states and the EU with Ukraine.

The EU partners used the working session to assess the implementation of new strategic and operational measures to strengthen the internal security of the Union.

After pinpointing illicit arms trafficking resulting from the invasion as one of the main security threats, they expressed the need for continued operational cooperation and open information exchange between Ukraine and the EU to prevent the diversion of arms.

  • 9,922 – Arrests in 2022
  • 180 million -euros seized
  • 62 t – of drugs seized

There was also a majority position to expand cooperation in this area with third countries that may be affected by the instability caused by the Russian invasion.

Commissioner Ylva Johansson stressed that the EU has taken in more than four million Ukrainians and announced that she would propose extending the Temporary Protection Directive until March 2025.

The fight against organised crime

The informal ministerial meeting on Home Affairs also served to deepen the debate on the fight against organised crime, with a particular emphasise on the threat posed by drug trafficking given its capacity to infiltrate socio-economic structures and the upsurge in related criminal activities.

Spain, which holds the presidency, moderated the debate among partners to promote new actions and cooperation mechanisms to address this security challenge, strengthening partnership with other regions outside the EU such as the western Balkans, the Middle East and Asia and North Africa.

“There is unanimous agreement that we must act on the economic flow that feeds organised crime in order to end its activity”; said Grande-Marlaska.

Cooperation with Latin America

In this respect, the Spanish minister has obtained the backing of the EU27 to establish a permanent and structured dialogue on internal security issues between the EU and Latin American countries, and has stressed that this cooperation will be made specific at the important meeting he is preparing for September between the European ministers for home affairs and the Latin American Committee on Internal Security (CLASI).

“We want to promote this contact through the Latin American Committee on Internal Security (CLASI), which will attend the meeting of the Council of Home Affairs Ministers on 28 September in Brussels, where ministers from both sides of the Atlantic will adopt a joint declaration” he announced.

Security in the digital environment

Security in the digital environment and police investigation in this area was another focus of the Logroño meeting, where participants discussed the possibility of laying the foundations for a new European legal framework on the retention of and access to electronic communications data.

“The EU’s objective is to strike a balance between guaranteeing fundamental rights and the need to provide police forces with legal and operational tools to prosecute crimes as part of investigations in the fight against organised crime, and in serious cases such as online sexual abuse”, said Grande-Marlaska.

Johansson explained that offenders are increasingly moving into the virtual world and estimated that one in five children is at some point a victim of sexual harassment, according to data reported by internet service companies that detect images of underage activity and attraction.

“We need to pass laws, otherwise internet companies will stop helping us and we will be blind and unable to do anything”, she warned.

Source: Informal justice and home affairs ministerial meeting

 

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