Zovko: We must work with our neighbouring third countries to halt illegal migration
Brussels, 10 February 2023
The leaders of the member states of the European Union gathered this week at an extraordinary meeting of the European Council in Brussels. They discussed recent increased migration flows with a focus on the control of external borders, cooperation with third countries and more effective return of migrants and asylum seekers that do not have the right to stay in the EU. Additionally, the leaders called for the continuation of legislative work in order to reach an agreement on the new Pact for Asylum and Migration as soon as possible.
Member of the European Parliament Željana Zovko welcomed the extraordinary meeting of the Council and stressed that according to Frontex, the number of illegal migrants entering the EU has increased by 64 percent in 2022. “On the Western Balkans route we saw more than 128 000 illegal entries, most of them coming from Burundi, Afghanistan or Iraq. This increase could have been avoided if neighbouring countries in the Western Balkans aligned better with the EU visa regime,” said Zovko and reminded that this is a prerequisite for those countries that have the ambition to become members of the European Union.
Zovko added that now Croatia has entered the Schengen area it has an immense responsibility to protect European external borders. “Our membership will inevitably lead to greater challenges in this region because we are now part of the biggest single market without internal borders. Therefore we have to create an effective and safe European migration policy that will deter further illegal migration and the abuse of the current asylum system” stated Zovko and called for greater solidarity among member states to share the burden that is currently carried by the states at the EU’s external border.