‘Europe must move from talking to acting over migrants’

Europe must take concrete steps to improve the return of migrants with no permission to stay inside the European Union (EU) as well as the readmission into countries of origin, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said.

Addressing a press conference following a virtual informal meeting of the EU Home Affairs Ministers, the Commissioner said on Friday that it was time “to go from talking to acting” on return and readmission and to step up cooperation with third countries, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We need to urgently agree on a limited number of countries that we should focus on, set up a timetable so that the commission, together with member states, should reach out to negotiate with these countries,” Johansson explained.

The EU Commissioner warned that she was ready to take decisive action if no progress is reached.

“If we do not reach sufficient progress, I am ready to table a proposal to the commission by summer to make restrictions on the visa policy,” she said.

On the other hand, if sufficient progress is made or cooperation goes on well, “we are also ready to put forward on the table proposals for more generous visa policies”, Johansson added.

She said cooperation with third countries must be comprehensive and include enhancing capacity, helping build asylum systems, border management, fighting human smugglers and police cooperation to help counter terrorism and fight organised crime.