Publication date 06.10.2017

Minister Mariusz Błaszczak in Budapest: The European Union needs a new common migration policy

- The current conditions require the European Union to redefine the objectives of the common migration policy, so that it could address the current challenges. We are in solidarity with the other members of the Visegrad Group, in particular as regards the following issues: protection of the EU external borders and opposition to the automatic relocation mechanism – said the Head of the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration after the meeting of V4 Ministers of the Interior in Budapest.

On Thursday (October 5th) in Budapest, the Head of the Ministry, Mr Mariusz Błaszczak, met with the Ministers of the Interior from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This was the first meeting after the Presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4) had been taken over by Hungary. Previously, the Presidency of the V4 had been held by Poland.

During the meeting, the Ministers discussed the common challenges in the field of migration. According to the Ministers, the European Union had not been prepared to face such a significant migration crisis, at the one that had hit the EU in 2015. Still, the European Union was not prepared to provide the adequate response to a similar inflow of migrants to Europe in the future. – Today, the European Union needs sustainable solutions based primarily on further strengthening the security of its external borders. As the Ministers of the Interior, we must not forget that it is our primary responsibility to ensure security of the EU citizens – stressed Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

The Head of the Ministry pointed out that reducing the scale of illegal migration also requires cooperation with partners along migration routes, including strengthening their competence in the field of border management. It is also very important to effectively combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking as well as to cooperate effectively with the countries of origin as regards the issue of returns of those who don’t need international protection.

The Ministers also discussed the judgment of the EU Court of Justice, which rejected the Slovak and Hungarian complaint against relocation. Minister Mariusz Błaszczak reminded that during the discussion on the EU forum Poland expressed its strong opposition in relation to the mandatory and automatic relocation measures. Poland believed that those measures were not effective and encouraged further waves of migrants to come to Europe.

- During today’s meeting, we have stressed our common, consistent opposition to the automatic relocation of refugees. The existing position of the Visegrad Group countries turned out to be proper and pragmatic – informed the Minister.

The Head of the Ministry explained that Poland had attempted to implement the decisions of the EU Council on establishing the provisional measures in the field of the international protection in Italy and Greece. These attempts showed that the mechanism to verify and admit applicants does not allow Poland to properly fulfil its duties in the field of ensuring public order and internal security.

He also pointed out that Poland did not reject the EU principle of solidarity and the necessity of providing humanitarian aid. The Polish Government showed solidarity with its partners, inter alia, by strengthening the protection of the European Union external borders. In addition, Poland is to a large extent involved in providing humanitarian aid to third countries particularly those affected by the crisis.

The meeting in Budapest focused also on such issues as the border protection, including internal border controls and the functioning of the Schengen Information System (SIS). Minister Mariusz Błaszczak stated that one of the key obligations of each Member State is to guarantee an adequate level of internal security. The Member States should be able to act in an emergency, when they are facing a serious threat to their public order or internal security. – However, while taking any action, priority should be given to restoring the proper functioning of the Schengen area, so that the Member States do not have to use the mechanism of restoring internal border controls – noted the Head of the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration.

Minister Mariusz Błaszczak stressed that Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia are in solidarity with the Visegrad Group, especially as regards the issue of the protection of the EU external borders. - We are ready to further engage our forces and resources so as to support both the other Member States and third countries which can help us protect the borders – he announced.

Poland constantly provides operational support on the external EU borders, primarily through the Frontex Agency. As part of the activities coordinated by Frontex, Poland supports, inter alia, Greece and Bulgaria.

  • Meeting of V4 ministers of the interior. Photo courtesy of Hungarian MOI
    Meeting of V4 ministers of the interior. Photo courtesy of Hungarian MOI
  • Meeting of V4 ministers of the interior. Photo courtesy of Hungarian MOI
    Meeting of V4 ministers of the interior. Photo courtesy of Hungarian MOI
  • Meeting of V4 ministers of the interior. Photo courtesy of Hungarian MOI
    Meeting of V4 ministers of the interior. Photo courtesy of Hungarian MOI

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