EU Home Affairs Ministers discuss asylum reform

Brussels / Berlin (dpa) – After the bloody attacks in France, Austria and Germany, EU interior ministers are today discussing a common line in the fight against terrorism.
In addition, Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer and his colleagues want to promote the reform of EU asylum and migration policy. As Germany currently holds the presidency of the EU states, the CSU politician is leading the video discussions with his colleagues.
A series of Islamist attacks have rocked Europe in recent weeks. The interior ministers therefore wish to set out in a joint declaration how the EU states can collaborate more closely in this area. The document, which the German News Agency has in its provisional form, mentions, for example, better cooperation between national authorities, a reform of the Schengen area which is in fact free from any control and stricter controls at external borders.
Among other things, it is said that the travel trafficking of the so-called threats is a major challenge for the security authorities. The authorities need to know who is entering and leaving the Schengen area. External borders must be effectively controlled. They also want to strengthen the security inside. Cooperation with third countries is just as important to be able to better deport dangerous people. German police describe people as “threats” to whom they attribute a politically motivated crime of considerable importance – like a terrorist attack.
In their statement, the ministers also underline the importance of access to data. It is essential that police officers in Europe have access to the information they need anytime and anywhere – always with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ministers also underline the importance of highly controversial data retention.
Seehofer initially scheduled deliberations on Friday to move the difficult asylum reform negotiations forward. However, due to the recent terrorist attacks in Dresden, Vienna, Nice and near Paris, the topic of terror was briefly discussed.
In order to resolve the long-standing blockade of EU migration policy, the European Commission presented a new reform package in September. Among other things, the proposals provide that countries like Greece and Italy, especially with enhanced border protection and with repatriation assistance for refused protection seekers, are relieved. Countries that refuse to accept migrants would be responsible, for example, for returning failed asylum seekers. A compulsory distribution of migrants, which is a red rag for some countries, should only exist in absolute exceptions.
Until the end of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, Seehofer is determined to take the issue forward. At least on sensitive issues, an agreement should be found at the meeting of interior ministers in early December.

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