Estonia stands in for Malta at EU interior ministers meeting

Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE). Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The meeting of the European Union's interior ministers that ended in Luxembourg on Friday was the first such meeting chaired by Estonia. Outgoing EU presidency country Malta had asked Estonia to stand in, as Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is currently forming a new government.

The meeting mainly dealt with issues related to the migration crisis, and progress was made concerning several important subjects, spokespeople for the Estonian Interior Ministry said.

"The positions of European Union member states sometimes are very different, which is also natural because the relationship that we have to the migrant crisis is different," Interior Minister Andres Anvelt (SDE) said, who chaired the meeting. While tanglible progress was made, there were no rapid solutions, Anvelt added.

The ministers agreed to first find solutions to problems on which there is greater agreement among member states, and to take it step by step from there. This concerns for instance the EU's repatriation policy and visa policy towards those countries that do not wish to readmit their citizens.

The member states also largely agree that the solution to the migrant crisis lies outside the borders of the EU, and that the problem needs to be solved where it occurred.

"The foundation of the security of the European Union is solidarity and helping each other in a difficult situation. The key to success can lie only in cooperation, not in encapsulation," Anvelt said, adding that it's important for the member states that the problem is dealt with together.

What was especially important for Estonia was that progress was made on several topics having to do with databases – such as the ETIAS travel authorization system, a renewal of the Schengen information system, and developing interaction between databases more broadly, Anvelt said.

"Our law enforcement agencies urgently need a so-called toolbox to ensure the security of the residents of the European Union. Estonia has a lot to offer from its own experience in this," the minister added.

The next meeting of EU interior ministers will take place in Tallinn on July 6-7, at the time of the Estonian presidency of the EU Council.

Malta had asked Estonia earlier this week to chair two ministerial council meetings, as all of its government members were currently at home, where Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's party recently won a parliamentary election and was in the process of forming a new government.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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