Interior minister skips ministers' dinner focused on migrant relocation

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE).
Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Aurelia Minev/ERR

An informal meeting of EU justice and interior ministers being held in Helsinki beginning Thursday will focus on the internal security as well as the future of the migration and asylum policy of the EU. Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) will attend the meeting, however he did not attend a dinner held on Wednesday night, the focus of which was the relocation of migrants arriving in the EU via the Central Mediterranean migration route.

From Estonia's perspective, it is important to keep migration flows under control, Helme said according to a ministry press release.

"The prevention of illegal migration and the quick and efficient return of people illegally in the country are a priority," he said. "Estonia is willing to discuss providing aid to the countries of origin, but the accepting of people in need of international protection must remain voluntary."

It is for this reason that Helme did not participate in a dinner organized on the initiative of Germany and France, the goal of which was to find a solution through the end of October to the relocation of migrants arriving in the EU via the Central Mediterranean migration route.

From Estonia's perspective, considering the future outlook of the EU's internal security, the emphasis should be placed on implementing already adopted measures, according to the ministry press release. It is likewise important to draw attention to the affects, opportunities and risks to ensuring internal security associated with rapid technological development.

"Especially important is the development of various information systems and ensuring automatic data exchange between them," Helme said. "In the fight against crime, we have to promote cooperation with non-EU states, improve the accessibility of electronic certificates, and ensure the opportunity to preserve and utilize internal data."

Also to be discussed at the informal meeting are matters related to artificial intelligence in the context of ensuring internal security, where one challenge is finding a balance between privacy and security and the EU data protection framework, as well as hybrid threats, as a part of which a tabletop case study will be conducted in order to increase awareness of them.

The goal of the exercise is to establish a common understanding of a crisis situation and its impact on the EU and its member states, as well as draw attention to the use of new technologies in the dissemination of disinformation as well as in strategic communication.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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