The new character and emergency nature of the migration flows affecting Europe’s borders, especially our southern borders, and the policies to address them were the focus of an informal meeting of foreign affairs and interior ministers of the European Union called in Rome by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The meeting, the first of its kind in view of its “joint” format, enabled the foreign and interior ministers of the countries of the European Union, along with the High Representative for Foreign Policy and the European Commissioner for Migration, to jointly examine the increased migration flows from countries experiencing grave conflicts and crises of stability. Most of the migrants are people seeking international protection.
The Ministers discussed the intervention initiatives put in place by the Union in recent years to address migration. A recurrent phenomenon in the history of humanity, but which has now taken on dimensions and features that demand a prompt and integrated approach, an approach also inspired by generosity and solidarity.
For this reason, during the meeting participants examined the instruments through which the EU – both in its internal affairs and foreign policy and security components – can actively tackle at the root the grave crises triggering the recent intensification of migration phenomena. This must be done in a spirit of fruitful collaboration with the countries of origin and transit, in full respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms.
During this discussion, more effective methods of coordination in the European institutions already involved in these matters were identified. Methods which, drawing on the significant innovations introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, will make it possible to improve consistency and efficacy in the European Union’s external action in this field.
The meeting was an important result in terms of the commitment of the Italian Presidency and the European institutions to increase the effectiveness of the action of the European Union and bring it more closely into line with citizens’ feelings and views. It marked a change of direction in European policies, which are now more than ever focused on strengthening and developing the dialogue with migrants’ countries of origin and transit.
The joint council took place alongside two other important initiatives organised in the framework of a two-day series of events entirely dedicated to migration. These were the 4the Interministerial Conference on the Rabat Process and the new, parallel initiative – the Khartoum Process – which addresses, for the first time, the countries of the Horn of Africa.