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European cooperation on migration: results of the JHA Council meeting

On 25 January the European Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs met to discuss European cooperation on migration. The informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in Amsterdam led to concrete results concerning temporary border measures.

Migration, immigrants, refugees

Fotographer: Guido Koppes | GKF

Strengthening external borders

In 2015 more than one million asylum seekers and illegal migrants entered the European Union. Strengthening the EU’s external borders is therefore essential. As holder of the Council Presidency, the Netherlands is taking forward decision-making on the Commission’s proposals to protect these borders (known as the Border Package). Although member states are primarily responsible for guarding their external borders, EU member states believe there is also a shared responsibility. The aim is to find the right balance.

Temporary border measures

The high influx of migrants has caused some member states to introduce temporary border measures. The unprecedented number of asylum seekers that prompted this move has not yet shown any signs of falling. EU member states have asked the Commission to take preparatory steps to allow for the extension of these measures. In the meantime, the Presidency will continue to implement its joint approach with a view to making national measures superfluous.

Exploring possibilities for Frontex

The Council also sent a clear message to the European Commission about looking into the possibility of deploying Frontex at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, responded positively to this proposal.

Partnerships with specific countries

As holder of the EU Presidency, the Netherlands is doing all it can to reduce the influx of asylum seekers by:

  • working with Turkey to drastically reduce the influx of asylum seekers;
  • working with Greece and Italy to set up hotspots and 100% registration of migrants;
  • working with partners in the Western Balkans to share the pressure of large numbers of migrants;
  • working to meet commitments within the European Union.

Initial results should be visible within the coming weeks. The European ministers of Justice and Home Affairs will review the situation during Council meetings on 18 and 19 February and 17 and 18 March.

Steps in cybersecurity

Steps have also been taken in the area of cybersecurity. Guidelines on network and information security have been agreed as part of the EU Cybersecurity Strategy. This subject will be revisited at a ministerial meeting on 12 May.