Future challenges in Home Affairs

Press conference in Strasbourg

Press conference in Strasbourg

The European Council’s guidelines on the future on freedom, security and justice will be adopted in June. This will be done during a time when EU-scepticism is loud and we are seeing indications on growing nationalism, intolerance and xenophobia. My message to the Heads of State or Government is a plea to demonstrate political leadership and to give a clear signal that the EU will not compromise its core values.

Today, the Commission presented its view and its proposal of ideas for the future in the area of justice and home affairs. Since I took office as EU Commissioner for Home Affairs in 2009 I have worked according to the ambitious agenda stated in the Stockholm programme. Now, almost five years later, we can be proud of what has been achieved. We have agreed upon a Common European Asylum System with high standards and rule of law for those seeking protection. We have reinforced the governance of the Schengen zone and we have abolished visa requirements for a number of countries in our close neighbourhood (Balkans) but also in other countries such as e.g. Brazil and Taiwan. We have opened more legal ways of accessing Europe. In the area of security, the European cooperation has been strengthened and deepened. We have created EU legislation and strategies against trafficking in human beings, a new European Cybercrime Center (EC3), a global alliance against pedopornography on the internet as well as a network to prevent radicalisation and extremism (RAN). But the work is not over. The proposal presented today is based on the experience and knowledge we have acquired in our work.

The Europe I want is a Europe that is open to the world, that welcomes students, researchers and others and that brings skills and talents that we need to ensure our levels of prosperity. It is a Europe that offers protection for those in need of it. My Europe is the Europe that provides security to its citizens.

We have to continue to uphold our core values and principles on which our cooperation is built upon. Democracy, the rule of law and respect of human rights have to be the foundation on which we develop our policy during the coming years. The notions of solidarity and responsibility sharing have to be translated into concrete measures and actions. The Member States and the EU-institutions need to work together in order to live up to this.

With regard to the future it is also of utmost importance to consolidate and implement all legislation we have agreed upon. It has to work in reality. The operational cooperation has to increase and the trust within e.g. police and prosecutors must be developed and strengthened every day throughout daily concrete practical cooperation. The EU and its Member States will be confronted with new challenges that we cannot predict today, but looking back at the experience we have gained we now have to look forward. For instance, more people will want to come to Europe to work, visit, study or to seek protection. We need to use the possibilities migration implies in a globalized world to a further extent. We also need to implement our new common European asylum policy in a responsible manner based on solidarity. We need to increase our efforts to avoid future tragedies in the Mediterranean. Therefore we need to deepen our cooperation with countries of origin as well as transit countries. We need to open new ways for migration. We need to continue to develop solutions to challenges as e.g. cybercrime, to continue to build upon our report on corruption that we presented recently and to deepen our work in combatting the uprising extremism in Europe. The challenges are many and important.

Read the proposal here: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/basic-documents/docs/an_open_and_secure_europe_-_making_it_happen_en.pdf

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