EU home affairs ministers meet in Brussels to discuss future of immigration and asylum policy and internal security
Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo will chair the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels on 2 December. This is the last meeting of home affairs ministers to be held under Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Among the items on the agenda are the future of EU migration and asylum policy and of internal security in the EU.
“During the Finnish Presidency, we’ve held wide-ranging and forward-looking discussions on migration, above all with a view to building trust between member states and providing ideas and tools for the new Commission. Expectations are of course high for the new Commission, especially with regard to immigration and asylum policy,” Minister Ohisalo says.
The priorities of the Finnish Presidency as regards migration have included treating all migration routes in a balanced and comprehensive way, discussing the core objectives of the Common European Asylum System, making better use of information in policy preparation and highlighting the importance of partnerships with third countries, particularly Africa. In addition, Finland’s Presidency was the first to launch substantive discussions on the links between immigration and trade policy.
Internal security more than a matter of law enforcement
Finland’s Presidency has also adopted a broad-based approach to the debate on the future of internal security in the EU. Safeguarding internal security is not merely a matter for law enforcement authorities; for this task, they need the support of other authorities, organisations and society at large. The Presidency has adopted a similarly comprehensive approach to the issue of hybrid threats, as exemplified by the scenario-based hybrid exercises conducted at meetings of several working parties and at the informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in July.
“Increasing cooperation and exchange of information between authorities, improving the interoperability of information systems, enhancing the application of new technologies and promoting EU agency support to member states are key to maintaining and strengthening internal security in the EU,” Minister Ohisalo says.
Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU coincided with a challenging transition period for the key EU institutions. The fact that there have been fewer legislative files to take forward has provided an excellent opportunity to focus on strategic priorities important for the future of the EU.
“The forward-looking discussions conducted by EU member states during the Presidency will provide a valuable basis for the work of both the Council and the Commission in the legislative cycle now starting,” Minister Ohisalo says.