Budapest – Interior Minister Aleš Hojs called for better control over who enters the EU as he took part in a meeting of the home affairs ministers of the Visegrad Group plus Austria and Slovenia in Budapest on Tuesday. He said securing EU borders should remain top priority.
The meeting, featuring officials from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as well as Austria and Slovenia, focused on current challenges in migration and management of EU borders.
“Protecting the EU’s external borders must remain our absolute priority, to tackle security risks and prevent potential migration pressures. We must not allow a repeat of the 2015 scenario so we must refrain from statements that could represent a pull factor,” Hojs said as quoted in a press release from his ministry.
He urged a united approach to external dimensions of migration. “The European Commission must, in cooperation with us, the member states, establish close cooperation with third countries. This cooperation should be based on the principle of mutual benefit.”
As a representative of the EU presiding country, Hojs presented the contents of the next session of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, in particular further debate on the new pact on migration and asylum.
He argued that the EURODAC regulation, which deals with the EU’s asylum and migrant fingerprint database, should be debated as a matter of priority in order to implement interoperability as soon as possible and to improve migration and asylum management, in particular in the field of returning of migrants.
The Hungarian MTI agency reported Hungarian Foreign Minister Sandor Pinter said the ministers were in complete agreement that the EU’s external borders needed to be protected. He added that the challenge of migration as a result of the situation in Afghanistan would apply to all European countries in the future.
According to the Interior Ministry, Hojs thanked his counterparts for a constructive approach in adopting in a joint statement on the situation Afghanistan at the August meeting of home affairs ministers in Brussels, adding that it should be followed up by implementation.
The statement said the EU was determined to prevent uncontrolled influx of migrants from Afghanistan and that any encouragement to illegal migration should be avoided. The ministers also supported enhancing support to third countries hosting large numbers of migrants and refugees. They committed for the EU and member states to do everything to prevent the situation in Afghanistan to lead to new security threats to EU citizens.