EU seeks volunteer member states to receive asylum seekers rescued from the Mediterranean
Finnish Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo will travel to Luxembourg on 10 October to attend the meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Council. On the agenda there is a general overview on migration, including the temporary mechanism for the Mediterranean.
EU home affairs ministers will have a debate on the state of play on migration, taking a general overview of the principal routes to the continent: the arrival numbers are below those in the previous years, although an upward trend can be detected on the Eastern Mediterranean route. The Greek and Cypriot ministers have written to the EU and to the Member States, requesting support in dealing with the growing number of asylum seekers.
According to a press release by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, the EU Ministers will discuss a joint proposal, agreed by Germany, France, Italy and Malta on 23 September, concerning a temporary mechanism for relocating asylum seekers rescued from the Mediterranean to other EU Member States.
Involvement in the scheme is voluntary. The European Commission and Finland as the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU brokered the negotiations between the four countries. "Now it is time to see how many Member States will volunteer for the temporary mechanism", said Finnish Government.
"The Presidency’s priority is to find a sustainable solution to reforming the Common European Asylum System and making it viable. However, the agreement by the four countries to aid the countries under migratory pressure is a promising step forward. As the Presidency, we have supported the process," says Minister Ohisalo.
Hybrid threats and counter terrorism
According to the Finnish Government, the EU home affairs ministers will also discuss the fight against hybrid threats and counter-terrorism, among other topics.
The discussions on fighting against terrorism and preventing violent extremism will stress the importance of tackling the phenomenon in all its forms, right-wing violent extremism and terrorism included. Ministers will also discuss the progress of the implementation of the regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard.
Combating the sexual abuse of children is also on the meeting agenda. As the Presidency, Finland aims to have the Council conclusions on combating the sexual abuse of children adopted in Luxembourg.
"Sexual abuse of children crosses borders and the digital world gives the perpetrators an environment where they can operate increasingly anonymously and secretly. By adopting the conclusions, the Council would commit to defending the fundamental rights of children and the rights of victims of crime. It is important that we use all available means and channels also at EU level to prevent sexual abuse of children," says Minister of the Interior Ohisalo.
Online terrorist threats
Minister Ohisalo will also attend the EU Internet Forum on 7 October. The forum is a collaboration of the EU and the technology industry, founded in 2015 to allow technology companies, EU institutions, EU ministers and Europol to discuss together the elimination of terrorist content online.
The forum will discuss EU cooperation to eliminate terrorist content, combating sexual abuse of children online and preventing emerging terrorist threats online, among other topics.
"It is important that companies cooperate on a voluntary basis to remove terrorist content online," says Minister Ohisalo.