Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council (18/19 June 2009)
Key points from the Summit document:
- Affirmed need to strengthen efforts to prevent illegal immigration at the southern maritime borders;
- Called for a response consistent with the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum and the Global Approach to Migration;
- Called for coordination of voluntary measures for internal reallocation of “beneficiaries of international protection” present in Member States exposed to disproportionate pressures;
- Welcomed Commission’s plan for pilot project for Malta; and
- Called for agreement with the European Parliament to allow the rapid establishment of the European Asylum Support Office.
“In the midst of the deepest global recession since the Second World War the European Council again demonstrated the Union’s determination to rise above present difficulties and to look to the future by taking a series of decisions intended to meet, rapidly and effectively, a wide range of challenges. [***]
“European leaders expressed great concern at the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean area and agreed on a number of measures in order to help the Member States in the frontline to respond to the influx of illegal immigrants and to prevent further human tragedies. [***]
“IV. Illegal immigration
“36. Recent events in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta underline the urgency of strengthening efforts to prevent and combat illegal immigration in an efficient manner at the EU’s Southern maritime borders and thus prevent future human tragedies. A determined European response based on firmness, solidarity and shared responsibility is essential, in line with the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum and the Global Approach to Migration. Their implementation must be stepped up, in particular as concerns cooperation with countries oforigin and transit. All activities in the Western Mediterranean region and at the Eastern and South-Eastern borders need to continue.
“37. In view of the present humanitarian emergency, concrete measures need to be quickly put in place and implemented. The European Council calls for the coordination of voluntary measures for internal reallocation of beneficiaries of international protection present in the Member States exposed to specific and disproportionate pressures and highly vulnerable persons. It welcomes the intention of the Commission to take initiatives in this respect, starting with a pilot project for Malta. It urges the Council and the European Parliament toreach agreement allowing for the rapid establishment of the European Asylum Support Office. The European Council also underlines a need for strengthened border control operations coordinated by FRONTEX, clear rules of engagement for joint patrolling and the disembarkation of rescued persons, and increased use of joint return flights. In this context it calls for strong action to fight effectively against organised crime and criminal networks involved in trafficking of human beings.
“38. The European Council underlines the need for a significant strengthening of the cooperation with the main countries of origin and transit. It invites the Commission to explore concrete cooperation with third countries in line with earlier mandates adopted by the Council. The effectiveness of the EU’s readmission agreements need to be increased as part of the overall EU external policies. Concluding the negotiations on the EC readmission agreements with key countries of origin and transit such as Libya and Turkey is a priority; until then, already existing bilateral agreements should be adequately implemented.
“39. The European Council urges the Council to take the above fully into account when preparing the new multi-annual framework programme in the area of Freedom, Justice and Security. The European Council invites the Commission to submit further proposals to the next meeting of the European Council, based on an appropriate response to these problems. [***]”
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