INNSBRUCK, Austria – The governments of Germany, Italy and Austria agreed on Thursday to cooperate in efforts to reduce irregular immigration to the European Union ahead of a meeting of the EU ministers of justice and interior.
Interior ministers of the three countries held a trilateral meeting early on Thursday before meeting the rest of their EU counterparts in an informal meeting on immigration in Innsbruck, capital of Austria’s Tyrol province.
“We have all agreed that we have had a certain amount of disorder in one area for too long, that we want to organize, that we want to send the human traffickers a clear message, that it will not be possible in future to enter the European soil if you have no right to protection,” Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said at a press briefing after meeting his Italian and German counterparts.
The three countries will organize a technical-level meeting on July 19 in Vienna to rapidly develop a plan to curb immigration, the Austrian minister said, whose country is currently presiding over the European Council.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said that from now on, the three countries would work together to reduce departures (from outside Europe towards Europe), landings and deaths (in the Mediterranean).
Salvini said Italy should not continue as being the only point of arrival for refugees and added that he hoped to tackle problems such as the economic and social costs of immigration, which the country alone could not afford.
His German counterpart Horst Seehofer said that it should be the governments and not human traffickers who decide who gets asylum in Europe.
“We must not leave it to them (human traffickers), who comes in what country; the democratic governments must decide that,” Seehofer said.
Seehofer said that the European Council held in late June had already brought a “paradigm shift” in the area of immigration policy, which the three ministers supported.
“I think we are all very much looking forward to (the European Migration) Commissioner Avramopoulos, who will explain/clarify how the Commission intends to implement the resolutions of the Council on 28 June,” he said.
Seehofer said he hoped that the points raised in the trilateral meeting with would also be reflected in the EU Council’s conclusions.