The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU “will fight to the last minute of its term of office” to achieve agreement on the Pact on Migration and Asylum, says the Portuguese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
In a debate during the plenary session of the European Parliament, Augusto Santos Silva reminded the audience that the European Commission’s proposal “is a good working basis” and that Portugal will do all it can to “make progress on this proposal and to gain the consensus required to make it a possibility” by 30 June.
Pointing out that a provisional agreement had been reached between the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament on the so-called “Blue Card” Directive on the conditions of entry and work for skilled workers from third-party countries, Augusto Santos Silva stressed that “this is a sign that we can come to an understanding, that we can reach agreement”.
The proposal for a New Pact on Migration and Asylum was presented by Brussels in late 2020, but there remain differences amongst the Member States as to how to adapt their own migration policies to the new European legal framework.
It is necessary “to continue to save lives” in the Mediterranean
Speaking before the Members of the European Parliament, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs reaffirmed that we must “continue to save lives” in the Mediterranean, where thousands of people die each year attempting to reach Europe on illegal and dangerous sea crossings. He also lamented that there was still no coordinated response from the 27 Member States, but only “a group of Member States cooperating amongst themselves”.
In closing, Santos Silva reiterated that “we need to combat people trafficking networks, which are made up of highly organised criminals, who are, for all practical purposes, murderers”.