I just came back from Milan, Italy, where the first informal JAI Council meeting during the Italian Presidency was held. In the Justice and Home Affairs area we have been working intensively the last five years to implement the Stockholm agenda. We have put in place new asylum laws, worked on legal migration and strengthening of Schengen cooperation, increasing our fight against organised crime, corruption, terrorism etc. It is now time to look forward and the Strategic Guidelines for the area of Freedom, Security and Justice the European Council adopted at their June meeting identify the main priorities. This shows the importance that the European union is giving to this field of cooperation. These new strategic guidelines were part of the Agenda at the meeting with ministers in Milan.
There is an overall agreement that the main focus must be on implementing what we have agreed and make sure it works in practice. We need to consolidate and make the best use of our existing tools while being flexible for challenges that will always arise when we talk about asylum, migration or organised crime. Ministers discussed the issue of labour migration, how we can make sure that our union is open to skills and talents that we need in a recovering economy and gloomy demographic figures. We must make the case that migration and mobility is an asset and not a burden, especially in this difficult political climate with emerging racism and populism. Ministers reflected on what the EU can do to attract talent in key sectors affected by skills mismatch and labour shortages, how to improve labour mobility of regular migrants across the EU and how to address negative perceptions in the public opinion about migration. I was pleased to see that the suggestion, advocated by the Commission, to establish a platform to identify skill shortages and needs and promote, benchmarking of successful integration policies got a good reception.
We also discussed how we can become better in bridging the internal and external dimensions of migration working more closely with the countries in our neighbourhood.
Part of the strategic guidelines is the area of security. The Internal Security Strategy (ISS) will be updated to take into account new challenges, such as cyber crime, new forms of organized crimes and adapted to fight smuggling and trafficking. The focus also here, should be, according to the ministers, on actual implementation and operational cooperation. We also discussed how to further enhance respect for fundamental rights in the development and implementation of the internal security policies and how to improve synergies between EU internal security policies and other policy areas.