Migrants on a boat
4 July 2017

Addressing migration challenges in Europe

On 29 June, Gérard Collomb, Ministre d’État, Minister of the Interior, received Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. They reaffirmed their decision to work closely together in a spirit of shared solidarity and responsibility, to address migration issues and to strengthen the functioning of the Schengen Area.
 
Gérard Collomb and Dimitris Avramopoulos noted the worrying situation in Italy where there has been a significant increase in arrivals since the beginning of the year, particularly over the last few days. In this context, they reaffirmed the need to pursue a concerted, global, fair and firm European approach in order to address migration challenges by acting both at European and international level, in particular by reinforcing cooperation with countries of origin and transit.
 
In line with the work of the European Council of 22 and 23 June 2017, the Minister and Commissioner repeated their commitment to implementing the measures that have been agreed by Heads of State and Government for coping with the arrival of large numbers of illegal economic migrants in Europe via the Central Mediterranean.

The external dimension of migration issues

The Minister and the Commissioner stressed how important it is for the European Union (EU) to support Libya, particularly through equipping and training the coast guard. The Commissioner thanked the Minister for the commitment of France in Sahel. Alongside its European partners, France will be able to play a leading role in the migration dialogue that has been established with some countries of origin and transit of the migrants concerned.
 
Gérard Collomb and Dimitris Avramopoulos are also looking to work closely with other EU Member States to improve the efficiency of the return system with assistance from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), whose role in implementing return operations has recently been strengthened.
 
The Minister and Commissioner also reiterated the urgency of reaching an agreement on European asylum policy reform, in particular on the Dublin Regulation. The Commissioner welcomed the future plan of action presented by France for achieving more efficient processing of asylum applications and for strengthening the fight against illegal immigration.

Internal border management

The European Commission and France are determined to work together to ensure that free movement is maintained within the Schengen Area while guaranteeing a high level of security for European citizens. In this context, Gérard Collomb and Dimitris Avramopoulos discussed their shared concerns about security and the fight against terrorism. They are pleased with the introduction of systematic checks on European citizens at external borders in order to strengthen the management of the EU’s external borders.