Grande-Marlaska: "We have taken a big step towards giving Europe a more efficient, more supportive and fairer asylum and migration system"

News - 2023.6.9

"Today we have taken a big step towards giving Europe a more efficient, more supportive and fairer asylum and migration system," he said during the meeting of the Council of Interior Ministers in Luxembourg.

The new document guarantees the equitable sharing of responsibility for migration issues and solidarity, a principle that appears for the first time in an EU legal instrument, "an inalienable issue for countries such as Spain, exposed to intense migratory flows as the European Union's external border".

During his speech, Grande-Marlaska expressed his gratitude for the compromise reached after years of "intense work" and urged his counterparts to continue the roadmap drawn up in 2019 with the European Parliament to complete the negotiations of the Pact on Migration and Asylum before the end of the European legislature, in June 2024.

"Today's agreement paves the way for the approval of the Pact, a top priority for the EU as a whole and also for the Spanish presidency that we will assume as of 1 July," said Grande-Marlaska at the end of the meeting.

The minister has told his counterparts that he will work for the approval of the Council's position on the crisis regulation, the last dossier necessary to finalise the negotiations, and has committed himself to strengthening the external dimension of European migration policy. "The Pact will only work if we consolidate a robust and permanent system of preventive cooperation with third countries of origin and transit of migration," he added.

External dimension, Ukraine and counter-terrorism

The Council of Interior Ministers also discussed the external dimension of migration policy and the promotion of cooperation, which Grande-Marlaska defended before his counterparts. "We must not forget that effective prevention of migration flows requires a medium and long-term strategy. If we want to avoid problems tomorrow, we need to cultivate our relationship today," he explained.

During his speech, Grande-Marlaska welcomed the European Commission's presentation of the Action Plan for the Western Mediterranean and the Atlantic and called for the promotion of specific actions with the countries of origin and transit, "especially the strengthening of their national capacities and operational collaboration", as in the case of the Spanish Joint Investigation Teams already operating in African countries.

On the situation in Ukraine and those displaced by the Russian invasion, the minister pledged to push for the adoption of a legal framework during the European presidency that will provide coverage for people with temporary protection, once this figure is exhausted in 2025. "We must adequately prepare the tool so that this figure of protection is directed towards other legal channels of residence or return", he explained.

In the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, which will be another of the priorities of the Spanish Presidency, the Minister for Home Affairs urged the European Union to strengthen prevention capacities and to promote the adoption of effective instruments for action in the online world, in collaboration with the industry "to facilitate greater transparency of message amplification algorithms", he added.

"We support the need to demand a more proactive and preventive response to violent extremism from internet companies and technology platforms operating in Europe. And this goes beyond the mere removal of violent content", said Grande-Marlaska during his speech in Luxembourg.

Presentation of the priorities of the European Presidency

The minister took advantage of the meeting to present to his counterparts the priorities in the area of the Interior of the future presidency of the European Union that Spain will assume as of 1 July. Thursday's meeting in Luxembourg is the last Council of Interior Ministers of the Swedish Presidency and the next meeting will be the Informal Meeting of Ministers in Logroño on 20 July.

The European Pact on Migration and Asylum, the fight against terrorism, radicalisation and organised crime, the promotion of cooperation and police training, the war in Ukraine and prevention in relation to common challenges, such as cybersecurity and the strengthening of civil protection capacities, are the main priorities set out by the minister during his speech.

Today's presentation in Luxembourg is the culmination of the round of contacts initiated on 3 February in Rome to inform EU partners of the objectives of the Spanish Presidency and to seek the support of the Member States for the approval of the pending challenges.

In the last four months, the Minister for Home Affairs has visited Rome, Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, Sofia, Bucharest, Vienna, Budapest and Lisbon 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 has held several meetings with the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson - the last being on 5 May in Madrid - and with the president of the European Parliament's LIBE Committee, Juan Fernando López Aguilar.

Non official translation