I want to thank the Committee of Regions for having put the topic of integration of migrants on the agenda of this plenary session. I know that the Committee has been working a lot on this topic.
Je voudrais remercier sincèrement le gouvernement du Niger pour avoir organisé cette rencontre. Comme Président du G5 Sahel, le Niger joue un rôle clef à l'échelle régionale sur les questions de migration et de sécurité et je l'en félicite.
Today is another important step forward in Europe's mobility, migration and security policies, both internal and external. First of all, today we present the first part of a comprehensive reform of the EU's common visa policy.
It is my honour to welcome you here today, to mark the 14th European Remembrance Day for Victims of Terrorism. We came all here today with very heavy hearts.
ecurity is a shared responsibility, and a basic right for our citizens. We cannot contemplate more victims in our cities, but we know that it is a reality we will probably have to face for years to come.
The choice of integration in the labour market as the main topic for this year's Forum is particularly timely, at a moment when the migration situation at our external borders has started to stabilise, thanks to our collective efforts over the past years.
I am pleased to be here with you today to discuss the ongoing process towards the adoption, by the end of this year, of the United Nations Global Compacts on Refugees and for safe, orderly and regular Migration. This is a critical moment in the history of international cooperation, and will define the legacy we leave behind us for future generations.
With the Secretary General we discussed the global compacts on migration and refugees. The EU is fully aligned with the principles of the United Nations as far as migration is concerned.
Mobility is an inherent feature of our times, and will only increase in the future. It is something we all have an interest in encouraging but it is also something we need to manage. Schengen is one of the greatest and the most tangible achievements of European integration.
In the context of the current geopolitical instabilities that we face, we all share the same challenges – particularly on fighting irregular migration, better managing our borders and fighting organised crime and terrorism. We share a common history, and our future can only be shared and European too.
I considered it appropriate to call this press conference in order to inform you about a dark case that casts a shadow over Greek society, undermining democracy, the institutions and the dignity of public persons.
New figures published today by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) show a significant decrease in the number of asylum applications made in the EU in 2017. In total, 706,913 asylum applications were recorded in EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland in 2017, a 43% decrease compared to 2016.
We had constructive discussions on the EU's asylum system, on the external dimension of migration, and on border management – key issues that we will have to work on in the coming 5 months.