And the government was so confident that the last part of the EU’s immigration reform, the regulation of crisis management, would be concluded in Spain three days before the general election. However, this achievement – if it ever happens – will have to wait. The informal meeting of European interior ministers held yesterday in Logroño, within the framework of the six-month Spanish presidency, ended without white smoke on the most difficult aspect: the solidarity mechanisms that must govern the EU when there is a massive influx of migrants.
Before the meeting began, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, had already assumed that the final green light would not continue in Logroño. However, he expressed “confidence” that this month it will be possible to close the position of the Council of Ministers of the Interior, which should establish a position to start negotiations with Eurochamber. However, at the end of the meeting, in a press conference, he lowered those tentative expectations.
The main current hurdle is the mass distribution of migrants who can reach the EU
The main obstacle that European partners have found at this stage is that not all countries agree on the distribution of migrants who could arrive in large numbers in Europe. These member states are Poland and Hungary, and they are ruled by hard-line conservatives. He declared that “there has been no change in the positions of Hungary and Poland, the differences are in the concept and how the principles of responsibility and solidarity should be conceived.”
The Spanish minister specified that they were in the “final phase” and that an answer must be given, though “without falling into precipitation and urgency”. “It is an inalienable agreement,” he said. The idea is that the final signature on the agreement is initialed before the end of this European legislature. Elections will be held on June 9, 2024.
It was the European commissioner for the region, Ylva Johansson, who in the subsequent press conference downplayed the Hungarian and Polish position, stating that unanimity was not needed to approve the long-awaited migration agreement. Johansson wanted to wink at Spain – after stressing that there was “trust between countries” to implement the plan – predicting that “we will be able to manage the migration crisis in the Canaries together”. While this road is currently downhill, it is one of the deadliest.
In the meeting of the internal addresses, the great security challenges that have put all European police forces on alert were also addressed: the fight against organized crime with special attention to drug trafficking, cybercrime as a transnational battle and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, with an emphasis on controlling illegal trafficking in arms and people.
Today it will be the turn of the European Ministers of Justice, who plan to analyze better protection and attention mechanisms for crime victims and improve access to justice in the 21st century, especially with people with disabilities in mind. The expected responses from the field of justice to the challenges arising from the growing threat that organized crime poses to EU citizens will also complement the agenda of this meeting.
Marlaska defends the agreement with Tunisia
Yesterday, the Minister of the Interior defended the agreement signed last Sunday between the European Union and the Tunisian government to combat irregular migration in the amount of 255 million euros in 2023. Tunisia has surpassed Libya as a starting point for irregular migration.