Léon Gloden at the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union

The Minister for Home Affairs, Léon Gloden, took part in the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council of the European Union, held in Brussels on 4 March 2024.

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    (l. to r.) Léon GLODEN (Minister for Home Affairs, Luxembourg), Annelies VERLINDEN (Minister for the Interior and Institutional Reforms, Belgium)

    (l. to r.) Léon GLODEN (Minister for Home Affairs, Luxembourg), Annelies VERLINDEN (Minister for the Interior and Institutional Reforms, Belgium)

Commissioner Johansson presented the Schengen barometer to the ministers. The Schengen area remains the most visited destination in the world, with 700 million tourists and more than 590 million regular crossings of external borders in 2023. The Schengen area is under heavy pressure from migration and the challenges posed by certain criminal phenomena are significant.

As part of the Schengen Council, the ministers also discussed the fight against drug trafficking. The significant increase in drug trafficking within the EU, illustrated in particular by record seizures of cocaine, led the European Commission to carry out a thematic evaluation in 2023 to assess the practices of Member States facing similar challenges in the fight against drug trafficking within the EU. At the beginning of February, the Commission presented recommendations on the implementation of the best practices identified during the thematic evaluation. The recommendations include strategic means for combating drug trafficking, mapping illegal drug flows, disrupting upstream and downstream criminal networks, as well as creating barriers and increasing the resilience of logistics hubs.

Léon Gloden: "The fight against drug trafficking is a priority for the Luxembourg government".

Minister Gloden stated that "the fight against drug trafficking is also a priority for the Luxembourg government" and welcomed these recommendations. He stressed the importance of their effective implementation in the Member States in order to converge national practices and improve the exchange of information between law enforcement agencies. According to the Minister, we "must work to re-establish the proper functioning of the Schengen area".

 The ministers also discussed the European Commission's assessment of the regulation on the European Corps of Border and Coast Guards, of which Frontex is a part. Most speakers welcomed the progress made in operational terms, the deployment of the permanent contingent and the strengthening of the mechanism for protecting fundamental rights. However, the ministers still identified shortcomings to be remedied by 2027, the date by which Frontex must be fully operational. Minister Gloden welcomed the measures taken to protect the external borders, with further efforts to be made in terms of returns. He stressed the need "to be able to discuss the staffing of the agency in the light of the real needs of the Member States". With regard to the integrity of the Schengen area, he stressed that "we are sending a huge amount of resources to strengthen the protection of the external borders. This must lead to the abolition of internal border controls".

The ministers' lunch was devoted to the implications of the conflict in the Middle East and the consequences of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine for the EU's internal security. The Ukrainian Interior Minister, Ihor Klymenko, was connected remotely at the start of lunch.

Finally, the ministers discussed the external dimension of migration. In his speech, Minister Gloden stressed that "partnerships with third countries must be comprehensive, forward-looking and long-term, with full respect for fundamental rights and international law. Luxembourg fully endorses the importance of good cooperation with our partners, especially in the immediate neighbourhood.

The meeting ended with a review of a number of issues relating to internal security.

Press release by  the Ministry of Home Affairs

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