Lenghty and cumbersome procedures can deter tourists from travelling to Europe. This would deprive us of investment and spending, and affect negatively the EU’s economy.
I don't hide from you that I consider the European Border and Coast Guard one of my key proposals and essential element of a comprehensive migration policy. We have not only created, installed but not also strengthened the European Border and Coast Guard in in record time with our joint work and efforts.
Today, the European Parliament adopted two important Security Union legislative initiatives proposed by the Commission on interoperability and explosive precursors. These new measures will allow EU information systems for security, migration and border management to work together more intelligently and will strengthen EU rules on explosive precursors.
I am very glad to be here with you today to discuss one of the most important questions for the future and prosperity of the European Union: how we create more inclusive societies. If anyone would ask me what I think is one of the priorities for Europe in the decades to come, the successful inclusion of migrants in our societies would be it.
Historical circumstance had it, that the arrival of the first migrant boats on the shores of Greece and Italy, almost coincided with the first jihadi terrorist attacks on European soil. Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, the Bataclan in November 2015, Brussels in March 2016 – not to mention the others that followed in Berlin, Barcelona, London and other European cities.
I would like to welcome you all warmly to the start of two days where we will discuss about the future of Europe. It is my distinguished pleasure to be joined tonight by two important European women, who also happen to be my colleagues, Vera Jourová and Corina Cretu.
I therefore want to thank you for your trust. For your trust back then, in the confirmation hearing, but also for your trust throughout these years: thanks to our strong cooperation we achieved a lot of work in both the areas of migration and security.
This debate is a landmark moment for the European Union. It is probably the last time we are debating a security initiative in the plenary, and it is also an opportunity to reflect, realising how far we have come in the last five years.
Since launching the visa liberalisation dialogue in 2012, the Commission has closely worked with Kosovo to support the authorities in fulfilling all the benchmarks of the visa roadmap. We acknowledged in our final report of 4 May 2016 that Kosovo had taken important steps towards the visa free regime.
A Security Union which not only protects our citizens at home, but also gives Europe a strong voice on the global stage, as a formidable actor at all international security fora.
The developments in the last few days have reminded us once again that the threat of extremist violence and terrorism is polymorphous, and unabating. Following the attack in Christchurch, I spoke to the New Zealand Minister on Monday and expressed our solidarity, offering any support they may need from the EU and Europol.
In a constantly evolving drugs market, reducing drug use and demand as well as drug supply requires an adequate and effective response through coordinated actions at international level. The international community needs to strengthen its action, reinforce cooperation and accelerate the implementation of our joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem.
With the new Visa Information System, we will remove blind spots in our systems and give visa authorities and border guards the information they need to do their job properly. We cannot allow criminals and potential terrorists to enter Europe undetected!