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Grande-Marlaska calls on the EU to "take a step forwards and commit to the external dimension" in its migration policy

Tuesday 8 June 2021

At the Council, the first to be held in person since March 2020, Grande-Marlaska urged the European Union to tackle the migration challenge with a policy "based on cooperation with the countries of origin and transit of migration in order to prevent departures and avoid loss of life".

The Home Affairs ministers of the EU-27 have in fact reached an agreement so that this external focus, a priority for Spain, will be at the centre of the debate on migration policy at the next European Council, to be held on 24 and 25 June.

On the Migration and Asylum Pact, the Spanish minister insisted on achieving a "greater level of clarity and firmness" in cooperation and prevention at source. "The Pact still fails to provide realistic and satisfactory solutions to many of our problems," he added. Grande-Marlaska also defended the need for all countries to share responsibility for migration and to define clear rules of solidarity that can be applied in practice.

"A Schengen Area that does not build barriers"

The Justice and Home Affairs Council also discussed the new Schengen area strategy. The Spanish Minister of Home Affairs has advocated promoting the use of new technologies "to guarantee internal security without reintroducing temporary controls". "We need a Schengen area that unites us, not one that serves to build barriers, a Schengen that does not sacrifice mobility under the pretext of greater security, when its current threats know no borders," he said.

Grande-Marlaska also spoke about the Regulation recently announced by the European Commission to provide a legal framework for the use of Artificial Intelligence, and insisted on not putting the brakes on the development of technological innovation. "It is a risk we cannot take. Criminals and terrorists use all technologies, freely and without hindrance," he remarked. "In the era of the Internet of Things and Big Data, Artificial Intelligence is not an option, it is a necessity. Access, analysis and exchange of information are three key elements in guaranteeing the security of EU citizens," said Grande-Marlaska.

Strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation

The analysis of the crime and terrorism situation in the new scenario created by the health crisis was also the focus of the JHA sessions. The minister expressed his support for strengthening cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence services on terrorism.

"Spain agrees that work should continue to strengthen collaboration between Europol and the Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) within an agile and flexible framework, without binding regulatory solutions," he said.

Grande-Marlaska shared with his European colleagues how the pandemic has shifted crime to the virtual world, with numerous frauds and scams, especially taking advantage of the most vulnerable people. "We have seen how drug trafficking has adapted quickly to the initial situation of border closures and how lockdown and teleworking aggravated and increased the risk of gender-based violence," he added.

Non official translation