Estonian Minister of the Interior comments on the European Commission refugee plan

9. sept. 2015

Commenting on the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s plan for easing the immigration pressure, Estonian Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur explained the Estonian position that the decisions impacting the life of the member states should be made with the involvement of the member states.

"Compulsory mechanisms proposed by the European Commission will not help us out of the migration crisis. We will have to turn our attention from temporary solutions to long-term ones and cooperate internationally to ensure peace in Syria and other areas of crises, provide humanitarian aid, strengthen the outer borders of the European Union and, if necessary, create security zones as close to the homes of war refugees as possible," Pevkur said.

„Concerning the people who have already reached the European Union, we have to clearly differenciate between the people who need international protection and economic refugees, which means that repatriation contracts with safe countries are of critical importance," the minister said. According to Pevkur, the European Union needs functional solutions in order to maintain its principles and unity; otherwise the principles of free movement within the Schengen area could be in question. „The free movement of people within the European Union is a privilege we have become to consider self-evident. Addressing the current migration pressure, we see that in order to maintain the Schengen area, we will have to work even harder. Estonia will definitely stand for keeping up the freedom of movement in Europe."

The Minister said he was happy to hear that the Commission has retreated from the unfair allocation formula proposed in spring. „Upon accepting the refugees, we have to take into account the capability of countries and the wish of the refugees to relocate, but mostly the share of the population and economy of the countries in the European Union. The new formula proposed by the European Commission is in line with that," said the Minister.

The government will agree on the official position of Estonia at the session tomorrow, the member states will present their primary positions about the migration-related measures on September 14 at the meeting in Brussels.