M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, had a meeting at the Interior Ministry this morning with Mr António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Minister presented the asylum bill currently under discussion in Parliament. This reform, which among other things will reduce processing times for asylum applicants and improve the way they are dealt with, was welcomed by the High Commissioner.
Building on the decisions taken by the European Council of 23 April, the Minister recalled France’s position concerning the current migrant situation in the Mediterranean, and particularly the essential increase in resources for the Frontex operations in the Mediterranean – called Triton and Poseidon – to prevent the [kinds of] terrible human tragedies which have recently occurred. France is already playing its full role in this.
In view of the current situation in Libya and Syria, M. Cazeneuve and Mr Guterres agreed on the need to strengthen solidarity mechanisms regarding protection for refugees at European level. Indeed, it is essential for the reception of refugees to be more effectively shared between the various countries of the European Union, especially vis-à-vis the countries of first entry, in the form of resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes.
They also highlighted the importance of stepping up the dismantling of criminal people-smuggling rings and implementing procedures to remove illegal migrants not eligible for asylum, under dignified conditions and in cooperation with the countries of origin.
Finally, they asserted their determination to develop cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, particularly in Africa, to fight more effectively against people-smuggling rings and act at an earlier stage to take in migrants in need of protection./.