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9 Member States call for change on European migration policy, at the initiative of Greece and the Netherlands

By joint letter, the Ministers of Interior and Migration of Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, Karl Nehammer, Sammy Mahdi, Horst Seehofer, Mattias Tesfaye, Notis Mitarachi, Nikos Nouris, Agnè Bilotaitè, Ankie Broekers-Knol and Jan Hamacek, are calling European Commission to consider the change that is taking place on migration issues as third states instrumentalize migrants. This change requires a different political approach.

In their letter, the nine Member States emphasise the need for solidarity to those countries which are facing the migration crisis, for preventing irregular flows towards EU, for a sustainable and efficient European Migration and asylum system that offers crisis-resistant solutions, forbridging differences among states on the implementation of the 1951 Geneva Convention, as well as for reinforcing diplomatic efforts with countries of origin and transit of irregular migrants.

Specifically, they point out that “member States have faced the irregular arrival of migrants that seemed facilitated by the country of transit, with the possible aim of serving a specific particular goal of that facilitating country. This pattern seems to be growing and fast becoming a new trend”, adding that they welcome “the efforts taken by the Commission in reaction to the most recent attempt”, while strongly believing that “we must ensure that this trend is reversed”.

In addition, they underline that “it is clear that efforts at instrumentalising migration take aim at the Union as a whole, our Schengen and common asylum system and migration policy. Therefore, we believe that collective action and specific measures by the Union are needed. We fully agree that we need to stand in solidarity with Member States facing orchestrated migratory pressure, delivering immediate and impactful support to meet the needs of the Member States affected as well as to stop irregular flows to the EU”.

Furthermore, they indicate that “ it is imperative to pro-actively work on a joint approach towards these tactics. We need to come to a common understanding on how to deal and how to prevent such mass irregular crossings, when these are evidently not the result of a humanitarian necessity but rather an act of instrumentalisation. We are concerned with the repercussions of this phenomenon on the credibility and functioning of the European asylum system. Instrumentalisation tactics may severely affect the capacity of Member States to deliver international protection in line with our common European standards to those persons actually in need thereof ”.

Besides, the Ministers of Interior and Migration stress that “in doing so, we must continue our efforts with our international partners to strengthen protection capacities in the region of origin and to bridge the existing differences in implementation and respect for the 1951 Refugee Convention by different states. We feel that the current asymmetric situation resulting from different levels of implementation and respect of the said Convention in fact facilitate such tactics. We therefore ask the European Commission to take into account the changing nature of the migratory challenge in the shaping and implementation of our common migration and asylum policy”.

Finally, they highlight that “we need to prevent instrumentalisation of migration as a political strategy, by demonstrating full strength and high efficiency in managing and controlling this phenomenon raising unrealistic expectations of migrants. We have a responsibility and a duty to protect our borders and we must take action, by showing unity and resolve”.

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