Grande-Marlaska announces to the Ukrainian ambassador that his country will be a priority for Spain's EU presidency

News - 2023.5.5

The Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has met with the Ukrainian ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, and has told him that the situation in his country will be one of the priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the EU in the area of home affairs. "We will address the issue in all the councils, and the informal meeting of home affairs ministers in Logroño will have a specific session dedicated to Russia's aggression," the minister explained.

Temporary protection for displaced Ukrainians was also discussed at Friday's meeting. In this area, Grande-Marlaska assured Pohoreltsev that the Spanish presidency will discuss the extension of this protection mechanism beyond March 2024, when the current period expires.

The Ukrainian ambassador thanked Spain for its efforts in granting more than 175,000 temporary protections to Ukrainian citizens since the activation of the mechanism in March 2022, a figure that places Spain as the fifth country that has processed the most applications, only behind Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy, all of which are geographically closer to Ukraine.

Grande-Marlaska has informed the ambassador of the progressive decrease in the number of applications in recent months, reaching an average of 150 applications per day, which are mostly processed in the autonomous communities of Valencia, Catalonia, Andalusia and Madrid.

Operational police cooperation

During the meeting, the Minister for Home Affairs expressed to Pohoreltsev his interest in "strengthening cooperation in the operational field with the Ukrainian security forces", and recalled the activation of the Police Support Team (EPA), made up of National Police and Civil Guard officers, which travelled to Ukraine in December to provide technical and forensic support to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office in the investigation of crimes against humanity.

"The work of the EPA has been a huge operational success and it has carried out high-quality work", stressed Grande-Marlaska, who especially highlighted the joint action of different capacities and specialities of the National Police and the Civil Guard, "with logistical needs and special human and material resources for deployment in a country at war".

The minister said that the EPA's work on the ground has enabled the 3D reconstruction, using its own drones and high technology, of 15 critical and civilian infrastructure facilities that were damaged and destroyed as a result of Russian missile strikes.

The meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry of Home Affairs also reinforced the commitment of the two countries to sign in the near future the Hispano-Ukrainian Protocol on the Readmission of Persons, in application of the agreement between the EU and Ukraine.

Non official translation