EU Presidency: Council meeting on migration ‘extremely constructive’

Eduardo Cabrita said the discussion focused mainly on the external dimension of migration policy and expressed his satisfaction with what he considered to be widespread support for the ideas put forward by Portugal’s EU Presidency. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

EU foreign and home affairs ministers had an “extremely constructive” joint meeting on Monday that gives confidence that progress can be made on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, Portugal’s interior minister Eduardo Cabrita has said.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of a “jumbo” Council meeting devoted to migration policy, Cabrita said it had been six years since a meeting of this kind, which brought together 54 ministers and four members of the Commission, including the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell.

He said the discussion focused mainly on the external dimension of migration policy and expressed his satisfaction with what he considered to be widespread support for the ideas put forward by Portugal’s EU Presidency.

According to Cabrita, the 54 ministers had an extremely constructive view that, in the relationship with countries that are countries of origin, transit countries and sometimes migrant destination countries, it is necessary to have a proactive relationship.

“This includes all dimensions of migration flow management, that represses trafficking in human beings and pursues illegal migration, but that creates legal migration mechanisms, incentive mechanisms for a migration management that is, in the medium term, positive for Europe”.

“The meeting was extremely positive and we left here with a mandate to give a concrete dimension and a coordinated dimension to this strategy, developing partnerships, and with the firm belief that a meeting of this kind, which has not been held for six years, should be held on a desirable annual basis,” he said.

“Joint work between foreign ministers and home affairs ministers should be a permanent reality of the European agenda, with migration as one of the components of this broad dimension of Europe’s relationship with its neighbouring countries,” he added.

Asked to explain this mandate, the minister replied: “The 54 ministers of the 27 member states gave support to the global and holistic approach advocated by the presidency for relations with third countries, including the idea advocated by Portugal of establishing a new partnership with North African countries in the field of Justice and Home Affairs”.

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