The EU cannot welcome all refugees in the world, and the bloc needs to work together with countries that host refugees, EU commissioner for home affairs said on Tuesday.
Ylva Johansson was speaking to the press together with German minister Horst Seehofer following a videoconference of EU interior ministers.
The European Commission is expected to present in September its new proposal for reforming the EU’s asylum and migration policy.
“It is crucial that the new approach focuses on the external dimension of migration,” Johansson pointed out.
For this reason, the bloc wants to strengthen its relationship with partner countries, who deal with refugees, and the root causes of migration, she explained.
Next week, Italy will host a conference with the participation of governments of North-African countries, including Tunisia and Algeria.
According to Seehofer, fewer migrants start nowadays their journey to Europe from Libya, while the focus is shifting to these two countries.
In two weeks’ time, another conference will be organized in Vienna to discuss the challenges of the Balkan’s migration route.
Johansson and Seehofer also stressed that the bloc was determined to act against criminal organizations and human smuggling networks.
Besides reducing illegal migration flows, the EU also plans to reinforce legal pathways to apply for work in the bloc.
As an important novelty, Seehofer urged for laying the principles of a common European asylum policy system where EU countries need to apply the same rules and send back those who are not entitled to international protection.
He also said that rescue operations should continue in the Mediterranean with the participation of those states that wish to do so. For this, the bloc needs to set up a permanent system for redistributing migrants whose lives were saved.
At the same time, he added that those countries who oppose this system should be given the chance to contribute to the European migration policy by, for example, supporting third countries.