By Raphael Oni
The European Union Ministers of the Interior met for an informal meeting hosted by Slovenian Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs at the Brdo Congress Centre and demonstrated political will in favour of gradual progress in the formulation of the common EU Migration Policy.
The ministers dedicated the working lunch to exchange views on how progress in negotiations on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum can be achieved. According to Hojs,”The ministers held a sincere and open debate, in which they presented their views that remain largely directed towards the nothing is negotiated until everything is negotiated approach. However, there is still a possibility of making a step forward with the full package with the files that are not related to the most sensitive issues of the pact, particularly the Eurodac regulation – I am pleased that we demonstrated political will in favour of gradual progress in the formulation of the common EU Migration Policy,”.
Ministers also underlined the importance of closer cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, and efficient returns. They also stressed the need to continue discussions on responsibility and solidarity. The next steps towards adoption of certain legislative acts will be mapped on the grounds of the debate. The ministers expressed shared concern regarding the situation in Lithuania and conveyed strong support to Lithuania in managing the migratory pressure.
The future of Europe in term of Schengen Area was also a matter brought to the table. According to Hojs. “We started working on the Schengen strategy and the Schengen evaluation mechanism in the competent working body on the very first day of our presidency,”. In the debate, the ministers formulated common guidelines about their views on the proposals of the Schengen Code and the EU Police Cooperation Code, which the European Commission is to present by the end of the year.
The informal meeting of the Ministers of Interiors also agreed that in consideration of all the discussions and experiences from the past crisis, EU should chart a common road towards a future Schengen system that is resilient to new challenges and any new potential threats.