The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU welcomed the agreement in principle reached on the regulation establishing the European Asylum Support Office and pointed to the advances made in the Pact on Migration and Asylum.
At the last Council of EU Interior Ministers of the Portuguese Presidency, which was also attended by the Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, António Vitorino, and United Nations Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Gillian Triggs, the Portuguese Minister for Home Affairs welcomed the advances made in the home affairs area.
“We are pleased with the agreement in principle reached on the regulation for the European Asylum Support Office”, the Minister for Home Affairs said, speaking after the meeting he chaired in Luxembourg. Eduardo Cabrita reiterated that “in the final weeks of our Presidency, we will maintain our firm commitment to moving forward in the other dimensions of the Pact on Immigration and Asylum”, adding that “all the legislative instruments have been analysed and we have identified the issues where policy assessment is needed”.
The Minister said he was satisfied with the work done on “one of the main commitments of the European Commission, but also one of the main areas of commitment for the Portuguese Presidency: further developing an integrated management strategy for migration as a normal occurrence in life in Europe, where migration is seen as something positive for Europeans”.
Looking back at the issues discussed by the 27 over the last few months, the Portuguese Minister for Home Affairs believes that there has been “some very significant progress in affirming the external dimension of migration”, recalling that during the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the first “Jumbo” Council — joint meeting of Foreign and Home Affairs Ministers — in the last six years was held, focusing on migration, as well as the EU-Africa ministerial conference on migration flows, with the participation of North African countries “from Egypt to Senegal”, he stressed.
Eduardo Cabrita also applauded the fact that the approval of the Blue Card Directive, aimed at attracting highly skilled workers, was concluded under the Portuguese Presidency. During these six months, the regulation on the removal of terrorist content online was also concluded, and is now in force, as well as the reinforced legal framework of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism
“Very positive” performance from the Presidency in the justice area
On the first of two days of meetings of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Portuguese Minister Francisca Van Dunem classified the performance of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU in the justice area as “very positive”. “We were able to conclude negotiations on five legal proposals and adopt Council conclusions on fundamental rights, judicial training and the protection of vulnerable adults”, the Minister of Justice recalled.
The European Commissioner for Justice, also present at the press conference, agreed with this summation and said that the work of the Portuguese Presidency was “a genuine success”. Didier Reynders personally thanked Francisca Van Dunem for “the progress” made in different areas.