Meeting: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 25 February 2016

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Series Details 25.02.16
Publication Date 25/02/2016
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A meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs took place on 25 February 2016, in Brussels. The agenda included the following topics:

The Council discussed the current migratory situation, including the monitoring of implementation of the measures already agreed at recent meetings of the European Council and Council.

Particular attention was devoted to current developments on the Western Balkans route. A working breakfast took place in the margins of the Council with those member states most concerned and the ministers of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. The Council examined measures to prepare for the possible humanitarian consequences of the unilateral adoption of border measures.

Over lunch, ministers discussed cooperation with Turkey in the presence of the Turkish Deputy Minister of Interior.

The Council welcomed the European Commission communication of 10 February 2016, including the notion of safe third countries. The Council welcomed and supported Greece's intention to accelerate readmissions with Turkey on the basis of their existing bilateral readmission agreement (and soon on the basis of the EU-level agreement) as well as using the possibilities offered by Directive 2013/32/EU on inadmissible applications.

+ Schengen Borders code amendment
The Council agreed its negotiation position on a proposed regulation to reinforce checks against relevant databases at external borders. This regulation seeks to improve security inside the EU by making mandatory the current possibility of checks on EU citizens against all relevant databases.

+ Border and coast guard
Ministers took stock of the work on the proposal for a European border and coast guard. The proposed agency would bring together resources from Frontex and member states in order to monitor migratory flows, identify weak spots and respond in situations where the EU's external border is at risk.

The Presidency intended to reach a political agreement before the end of its term in June 2016, as requested by the February 2016 European Council.

In a wider context the EU Interior Ministers present tried to deal with the fallout from Austria’s action on the 19 February 2016 to restrict refugee flows.

Speaking in Brussels, Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas said his country would 'not accept becoming Europe's Lebanon'.

European Commissioner Avramopoulos said following the JHA Council 'In the next 10 days, we need tangible and clear results on the ground. Otherwise there is a risk that the whole system will completely break down.

We all have the responsibility to step up our efforts to apply the agreed European solutions. There is no time for uncoordinated actions'.

On the 7 March 2016 the EU was intending to hold a further summit meeting with Turkey on the migration crisis.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Meeting: Justice and Home Affairs, 3-4 December 2015
ESO: Background information: Informal meeting of the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam, 25-26 January 2016
ESO: Background information: Austrian restrictions trigger domino effect across Balkan refugee route
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges
ESO: Background information: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard ...
ESO: Background information: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation No 562/2006 (EC) as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders
European Commission: DG Communication: RAPID: SPEECH/16/426, 25.02.16:Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos following the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 25 February 2016
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 25.02.16: Merkel and the Unraveling of Europe
Politico, 25.02.16: EU tries to heal Vienna-Berlin split on migration
EurActiv, 25.02.16: Ten days to save EU migration system, Commission warns
EUObserver, 25.02.16: EU at breaking point over migration crisis
BBC News, 25.02.16: Migrant crisis: Greece recalls ambassador from Austria amid EU rifts
Deutsche Welle, 25.02.16: EU ministers call for coordinated approach to refugee crisis as 'anarchy' looms
Euro|Topics: Debates: February 2016: EU interior ministers for more border controls
Blog: Open Europe, 26.02.16: No European solution on the migration crisis in sight
EurActiv, 26.02.16: reek migration minister: Austria will soon recognise its ‘enormous’ mistake

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