The Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU on Wednesday hosted an extraordinary videoconference meeting of the interior ministers within the IPCR mechanism, which was chaired by Slovenian Interior Minister Alej Hoys. The ministers expressed solidarity with the affected countries – Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – and supported additional assistance to member states in this part of the EU’s external border, the Slovenian government announced.
Lithuania, which was the first member state to be hit by the crisis, has received several types of assistance from member states, the European Commission and EU agencies. “Due to the rapidly changing situation on the ground, Lithuania needs additional assistance, as well as Latvia and Poland,” said Minister Hoys. “We agreed to deploy additional experts and teams of agencies as well as the necessary technical equipment in these member states, to help increase reception capacity, to call on the European Commission for additional financial assistance and, above all, for strengthen EU external border control. The Ministers also underlined the importance of cooperation between countries of origin and transit in return and readmission, while the Presidency will organize discussions of Article 25a of the Visa Code on the issuance of a visa with limited territorial validity in exceptional cases as a priority issue.
“Member States again strongly condemned Belarus’ efforts to instrumentalize human beings for political purposes,” Hoys said.
The Presidency, together with the European Commission and agencies, will continue to closely monitor the situation on the ground.
The Slovenian Presidency is keeping a close eye on the situation in Afghanistan. “At the meeting, High Representative Josep Borrell briefed us on the outcome of the foreign ministers’ meeting, while Commissioner Ylva Johansson presented the migration preparedness and crisis plan,” said Minister Hoys, noting that “the international community must now do “everything possible to provide adequate humanitarian assistance and protect the most vulnerable in Afghanistan.” and other threats in the near future, to ensure a common EU response.
Minister Hoys added that Mediterranean states also face migration pressures, particularly from North Africa, which was something he discussed with his Italian counterpart Luciana Lamorgese a few days ago. At the end of August, the European Commission will present a migration preparedness plan for this part of the Mediterranean, and the Slovenian Presidency will accordingly organize further discussions and prepare an appropriate response.