Statement by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting in Riga

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3 Jun 2015
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos

I would like to welcome Attorney General Lynch and Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas and to thank them for the very constructive discussions. The groundwork we laid together last November in Washington is now starting to bear fruit.

Europe and the United States are longstanding allies and partners.

EU-US relations in the Home Affairs area are very strong and reflect the strategic character of our partnership.

The joint statement we just adopted is another concrete example of how we can become more effective in upholding and defending our common values.

Today we focused on three major topics in the Home Affairs area: managing migration and cracking down on migrant smugglers, countering violent extremism, and fighting cybercrime.

These are all burning issues for both the United States and Europe, involving many aspects of our cooperation. And of course, if we want to become more effective, we need to further strengthen and enhance our cooperation.

Our common work is already solid in the field of counterterrorism, where we established good cooperation mechanisms through Europol, in addition to our PNR agreement and our various joint working groups .

On migration, we discussed ways to address the current challenges , especially on the issue of migrant smugglers.

I very much appreciate the US interest and solidarity on this issue.

In our effort to crack down on the network of smugglers, we welcome further cooperation on information sharing and developing better synergies when dealing with countries in Africa or Middle East.

Our cooperation in the area of cybercrime is another good example of the effectiveness of our cooperation. Our exchange of information led to the shutting down of many so-called “darknet” domains, which distribute illegal goods worldwide.

Of course there were many other topics, not explicitly mentioned in our agenda, which were raised during our discussions, like visa reciprocity.

This issue is very important for the European Union and I sincerely hope that full EU-US visa reciprocity will be reached soon.

Other issues like drugs or more efficient border checks also require our attention and will be the subject of our discussions in the future.

I am confident that today’s Riga statement will bring added impetus to our work.

In view of our next meeting in the United States later this year, I look forward to working with Attorney General Lynch, who I would also like to congratulate for her recent appointment, as well as with Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas.

We have a lot of work ahead of us.

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