Preparation for the Spanish Presidency of the EU

Grande-Marlaska conveys "the constructive attitude" of EU countries towards a migration agreement to the European Commissioner for Home Affairs

News - 2023.5.4

The Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has met with the European Union's Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, in Madrid to whom he has conveyed "the constructive attitude" he has perceived in his EU counterparts with a view to reaching a forthcoming agreement on the Migration and Asylum Pact.

"Although there are still divergent positions, the distances are no longer as great as they were half a year ago and we are all aware that time is short and of the need to make concessions in order to reach consensus as soon as possible", said Grande-Marlaska.

This is the impression that the minister has conveyed to the commissioner, after the meetings held since 3 February with the EU's partners in preparation for the Spanish presidency in the next six months. In the last three months, Grande-Marlaska has visited Rome, Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, Sofia, Bucharest, Vienna y Budapest as well as meeting with the MED5 members in Malta. During this period, the minister also visited the European agencies Frontex, Cepol and Europol, and held a meeting with the president of the European Parliament's LIBE Committee, Juan Fernando López Aguilar.

In the area of migration, Grande-Marlaska highlighted cooperation with the source and transit countries of migration as one of the Presidency's priorities, and proposed the Commissioner make a joint trip to continue strengthening the external dimension of the EU's migration policy, "a policy that has given Spain very good results in collaboration with African countries", the minister said.

During the meeting, at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Grande-Marlaska and Johansson also discussed the situation of the Schengen enlargement process to Bulgaria and Romania, which Spain has undertaken to promote during its presidency. As an instrument of unblocking, the minister said he was in favour of establishing, "if necessary", a progressive path in three stages until the total lifting of controls, "with the aim of overcoming the reluctance shown by some countries towards enlargement".

Dialogue with Latin America

Grande-Marlaska also informed Johansson of the Spanish Presidency's interest in promoting bi-regional dialogue with Latin America on security matters, which he expressed during his recent trip to Argentina on 28 April, where he formally invited the countries that make up the Latin American Security Committee to a meeting on 28 September in Brussels with the EU's home affairs ministers.

"This meeting will consolidate our bi-regional relationship and I am sure that it will help to continue advancing in our cooperative relations in the fight against the transnational crime that threatens both sides of the Atlantic", explained Grande-Marlaska to Johansson, whom he also informed of the positive reception of the initiative among his Latin American counterparts.

Meeting with the Secretary General of the Commission

The meeting with Johansson follows the meeting held this Wednesday with the Secretary General of the European Commission, Ilze Juhansone, in which the minister explained the priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU related to Home Affairs, and told the delegation that the migration pact and the prevention and fight against terrorism, violent radicalisation and organised crime would be his main priorities. The minister also stressed the fight against online crime, especially child sexual abuse.

Grande-Marlaska took advantage of the meeting to inform the Commission delegation of the venue of the Informal Council of Home Affairs Ministers, which will take place in Logroño on 20 July, and which will be preceded by a week of activities in the city.

Non official translation