Today we present the consolidated progress that we have been making in managing migration on all fronts. The total number of arrivals along the main migratory routes has gone down by 63% compared to last year, and we are trying to gradually exit the crisis mode.
With over 34,400 new resettlement pledges received so far, I welcome the strong commitment shown by Member States to reduce irregular and dangerous routes and enhance safe and legal pathways, showing solidarity with host countries outside the EU.
The EU has engaged closely with all the origin, transit and other destination countries, in several fields including: the improvement of migration management, in the fight against smugglers and traffickers, in assisting stranded migrants, and on addressing root causes of migration.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Bern, Switzerland on 12 and 13 November to participate in the third Ministerial Conference on the Central Mediterranean Migration Route, hosted by the Swiss Confederation this time.
I would like to start by congratulating AIRPOL for convening this Congress, and to thank the government of Cyprus, and the Cyprus Police, for this highly topical discussion: We live in volatile and unpredictable times.
It was a pleasure for me to be here in Sofia today to attend the annual EU-Western Balkans JHA Ministerial and to discuss issues related to migration, borders and security with my colleagues from this important region.
Inevitably, our debate today ahead of the vote on an important priority report is also linked to Schengen. Preserving and strengthening Schengen is one of the Commission’s and my personal priorities. Schengen is a great achievement of the European Integration.
Our debate today is of great importance for our society and especially our youth, our future. None of us here, today, can ignore this longstanding and continuously evolving threat affecting the life, directly or indirectly, of millions of citizens in Europe.
Our security environment is volatile. The leaders of the G7 met in Taormina and issued a clear call to action against terrorism.Terrorism has become global. It requires a global response.
As announced by President Juncker in his 2017 State of the Union Address, the Commission is today presenting alongside its 11th Security Union Report a set of operational and practical measures to better defend EU citizens against terrorist threats and deliver a Europe that protects. The measures aim to address vulnerabilities exposed by recent attacks and will support Member States in protecting public spaces and help deprive terrorists of the means to act.
Σήμερα, περισσότερο από ποτέ, πρέπει να συνεχίσουμε να υπερασπιζόμαστε το ανοικτό πνεύμα και την ανεκτικότητα. Ταυτόχρονα, θα πρέπει να διασφαλίσουμε την προστασία των πολιτών μας. Η ουσία της Σένγκεν είναι ένας ασφαλής, αλλά ταυτόχρονα, και ανοικτός χώρος, χωρίς ελέγχους στα εσωτερικά σύνορα.
At the same time, solidarity and the sharing of responsibility have to be real. We cannot leave the bulk of the responsibility – whether in law or practice – to a few Member States only.
This Council is very important, one more crucial Council is going to take place today. We have to discuss very important issues. We shall start with our Common European Asylum System; it has to be finalised by the end of the year. Then the discussions about resettlement, the security issues and above all that the fight against terrorism, and Schengen.