Minister Flanagan attends the extraordinary Home Affairs Council in Brussels


4th March 2020


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, TD represented Ireland at an extraordinary meeting of EU Home Affairs Ministers in Brussels today. This extraordinary Council was called to assess and discuss the situation unfolding at the external borders of the European Union with Turkey.


Attending the Council, the Minister said:


“The migrant situation developing at the EU’s external borders with Turkey is deeply concerning to all Member States and it is vital that the European Union shows unity and solidarity in the face of this challenge. In particular, Greece and other Member States, including Bulgaria and Cyprus, directly affected by the current situation will require all possible EU efforts and supports to help them face this challenge in accordance with EU and international law. Ireland, as always, stands ready to play its part in responding to these efforts”


At the Council meeting, Ministers agreed on the text of a Council Declaration, which expresses solidarity with the affected Member States and strongly rejects the use of migratory pressure for political purposes. The Declaration, while recognising the effort of Turkey in hosting 3.7 million migrants and refugees, calls on Turkey to fully implement the provisions of the 2016 Joint Statement through which the EU is supporting Turkey in its efforts. The Declaration also expresses the commitment of the Member States, the Commission and all EU Agencies to provide all necessary support for areas under pressure. It welcomes the Commission commitment to make immediately available €350 million, and the proposal for an additional €350 million, to support migration and integrated border management.


Welcoming the Council Declaration, the Minister said:


“This Declaration is a clear statement from all Member States that we will continue to address the challenges of irregular migration as a Union and we will support our European partners using all available resources. I welcome the deployment of Frontex to provide assistance and I particularly welcome the Commission’s financial and coordination commitments.”


Further discussions of EU engagements with Turkey will take place at the Foreign Affairs Council on Friday 6th March.


Speaking at the conclusion of the extraordinary JHA Council, Minster Flanagan noted that:


“Ireland will continue to show support and solidarity as required. All Member States this evening indicated their readiness to contribute to helping frontline Member States under pressure now and those that might be similarly affected in the future. I have no doubt we will follow up on these discussions at next week’s scheduled JHA Council and I will also await with interest, the outcome of the discussions at the Foreign Affairs Council on Friday.”