Photo: Plamen Stoimenov (EU2018BG)
The Ministers responsible for home affairs of the EU Member States held an informal meeting in Sofia, focusing on the reform of the common European asylum system, improving border management, and the preparations for the UN Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
The Ministers discussed the reform of the common European asylum system, which started in 2016 in response to the unprecedented migration crisis. The Bulgarian Presidency will work towards the finalisation of the reform, in order to have a flexible, effective and reliable system, which will enable an adequate EU response to future challenges. “We had a very fruitful discussion on one of the most important topics for the EU, which is of concern to all EU citizens. I would like to thank the member states for their support and commitment to reach agreement on this issue. We will continue our discussions intensively at expert level with the aim of reaching a political agreement by the end of June. I hope that we will unite around a decision that will make the system more efficient and capable to respond to future challenges”, stated Bulgarian Minister of Interior Valentin Radev.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, welcomed the discussion. “We all want an asylum system that better balances responsibility and solidarity between member states. I fully support the approach of the Bulgarian Presidency to prioritise and intensify the work on the reform of the Dublin Regulation”, Mr Avramopoulos stated.
The working lunch of the Ministers was dedicated to the global aspects of migration in the context of the upcoming negotiations on the UN Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. The Ministers underlined the need to achieve a balance between the interests of the countries of origin, transit and final destination, and discussed how to ensure a result-oriented implementation of the global compact, taking into account its non-binding character.
The Ministers also addressed border management issues, in particular the political aspects of the Integrated Border Management concept. Participants stressed the need to strengthen border control, a crosscutting priority that is of key importance both to enhancing EU internal security and to better migration management. The debate was focused on issues such as cooperation with third countries, increasing the number of returns of illegally staying third country nationals, interagency cooperation in the context of border management, etc.
The Informal Meeting of Ministers of Home Affairs was held on 25 January 2018 in Sofia. The sessions gathered Ministers of the EU Member States, Ministers of the Schengen Associated Countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland), Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos and Julian King, EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, and representatives of the European Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, the European External Action Service and the EU agencies in the JHA area (EASO, eu-LISA, Eurojust, Europol, Frontex, FRA).