On Thursday Lithuania's Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis is attending the European Union's (EU) Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg. Responding to a recent refugee crisis, ministers of the EU member states will negotiate on external border control and on the future of return policies as well as on the implementation of the decision to relocate 40,000 migrants from Italy and Greece.
Saulius Skvernelis
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

"The border-free Schengen Area with fast movement through its external borders is one of the biggest achievements of the EU which must be preserved. The EU's internal borders will be secure and open insofar as its external borders are protected," Skvernelis emphasised while presenting Lithuania's position on the future of the EU's external borders. Lithuania backs an integrated management of the EU's external borders and supports the revision of this concept responding to the latest challenges.

According to the interior minister, striving to modernise the management of the EU's external borders and to effectively implement return policies, it is crucial to augment the mandate of FRONTEX (the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union) and to fully use and develop the existing potential of European IT systems.

"One must admit that the EU's return policy is inefficient. It should be more ambitious, effective and visible in the face of the current migration crisis. We must ensure proper application of return rules and more active cooperation of member states," said Skvernelis.

Ministers of the EU member states in Luxembourg will discuss the action plan prepared by the European Commission concerning return policies. It includes approximately 40 immediate and medium-term measures promoting voluntary return, improving information sharing, coordinating return operations and creating an integrated return management system.

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