EU home affairs ministers enhance cooperation with North Africa
Discussion on objectives and principles for future cooperation at Ministerial Conference on Security and Migration on 14 September 2018
“In spite of the different situations in our countries, criminal human smugglers, irregular migration or extremism and terrorism are threats that affect Africa and Europe alike. We are therefore enhancing cooperation with African partners”,
said the Austrian Federal Minister of the Interior Herbert Kickl. Mr Kickl holds the Austrian Council Presidency in the area of internal security and was speaking at the ministerial conference “Security and Migration – Promoting Partnership and Resilience”, the second day of which was dedicated to cooperation with North African countries.
He said that with regards to internal security, one of the Austrian Presidency’s goals was to work towards a citizen‑focused, crisis‑resistant, future‑oriented EU Security Union. This would necessitate close cooperation with EU partners. “We are striving to achieve a cooperation that is on equal footing and of mutual benefit”, Mr Kickl emphasised. This should also establish better foundations for overcoming common challenges in the future.
The home affairs ministers discussed objectives and principles for future cooperation in the areas of migration and security. This cooperation is also meant to contribute to stability and positive development in Africa and Europe. “An important prerequisite is the dismantling of the human smugglers’ business model, which only serves criminal interests”, said Mr Kickl, who holds the Austrian Council Presidency in the area of internal security. He also said that the states want to enhance their cooperation in areas such as the fight against criminal human smuggling, corruption and violent extremism and terrorism, and will endeavour to assume their individual responsibilities to the best of their abilities and support each other when necessary. The necessary measures should be such that they are in the interest of all the states concerned and contribute to developing ties. This requires adherence to international obligations, such as those related to search and rescue operations.
The ministerial conference “Security and Migration – Promoting Partnership and Resilience” on 13 and 14 September 2018 in Vienna is dedicated to cooperation with third countries. On 14 September, which was the second day of the conference, home affairs ministers and high‑ranking representatives from Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia were invited as third country guests. As part of the informal Contact Group for the Mediterranean, these countries have already been working together for some time now with selected EU countries, such as Italy, Germany and Austria.
In addition to home affairs ministers from the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries – Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland – the conference was also attended by the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and the EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, as well as representatives of the European Parliament, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Frontex, Europol, Interpol and representatives from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).