As you know, this is my last Home Affairs Council since I was designated Commissioner responsible for Migration and Security 5 years ago.
An important day, will say goodbye to all my colleagues here and I can tell you that I have been working very closely with them for the last 5 years and that we have delivered.
Migration and security prevailed across the board during the last 5 years, within the EU but also within MS. It has become maybe the most important political issue, I could say even more important than the economic crisis.
We have done a lot. We are not where we were 5 years ago. We all remember 2015. We have adopted the European Agenda on Migration, European Agenda on Security and we are moving ahead, but the problem is still there, so we have to remain vigilant and work together in order to overcome all these problems that have occurred in the meantime.
We are going to discuss today the outcome of the Malta meeting and will take stock of what is happening across the Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea and on the so-called Western Mediterranean front.
The other topic today will be security. We have to address new challenges, we have to be better prepared. We have to discuss hybrid threats, new technologies linked with terrorism and at the end, we are going to discuss extreme right-wing violence.
We have a very important meeting today and I look forward to ensuring the participation of all MS in our efforts to first of all manage migration.
Q Why so difficult to find more MS to support Malta paper?
This initiative undertaken by DE, FR, MT, IT is on the table. I believe that all MS will [need to] show more responsibility and take part in this common effort.
We cannot continue like this with what is happening in the Mediterranean, we cannot just try to find ad-hoc solutions. We need a permanent mechanism.
What we have proposed in Malta is to have a provisional mechanism at least for the next 6 months. So today is a moment for all Member States to show more solidarity and responsibility among us.
Migration, whether we like it or not, will be one of the top issues globally.
The EU has taken a lot of initiatives in the last 5 years, we are not where we were 5 years ago. But we have to continue to show solidarity among us, to treat these desperate people in a dignified way, to save lives, to continue fighting smugglers in a more effective way and create a safe environment for our societies and for all these people. We have to work on that, but solidarity is very important today.
In this same place, a big decision was taken 5 years ago by all MS to share responsibilities and the burden of this very first wave of irregular migration at that time. Since then we have made great progress, but we are still confronted with great challenges.
Lastly, migration cannot prevail in the domestic political debate – it is a question of responsibility of the political system of Europe. Because sometimes, what happens within a country is reflected in our common endeavour at the level of the Council here.
We will have more news this afternoon.
Q Weakness of Malta initiative that it focuses on Central Mediterranean Route and not the Western side?
Let me make clear: What was discussed in Malta has to do with the Central Mediterranean Route. 2 days after, along with Mr Seehofer, Mr Castaner could not join us, we visited Turkey in order to discuss with the Turkish authorities the other challenges we have from the other side. The other front, the Western part is better managed, things are under control.
But we approach the whole problem in a holistic way. We have not divided these parts of the Mediterranean as far as our strategy and our policy is concerned. That is why we are trying to engage third countries in our debate in order to find solutions.
I know first-hand that it is not an easy thing. But we should never forget that we have made great progress and we have to build on what we have achieved so far.