General

Germany wants focus on security during EU presidency, minister says

Berlin, Germany intends to focus on cross-border asylum policies and data-sharing when it takes over the rotating EU presidency later this year, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on the first day of the European Police Congress.

Seehofer stressed that he was fully behind the ambitious environmental “Green Deal” spearhead by his former government colleague Ursula von der Leyen, who recently took over as European Commission president.

However, forging a common European stance on asylum is at least equally important, he said in Berlin on Tuesday, not least to prevent extremist parties from gaining ground, Deutsche press agency (dpa) reported.

Seehofer criticized the so-called Dublin rules, which state that asylum seekers should make their asylum claims in the EU country where they were first registered. Sending migrants back to those countries after they have travelled onwards to Germany was difficult, Seehofer said, adding, “We do not even get a response to our letters from most of these states.”

Germany is set to take over the rotating six-month EU presidency in the latter half of the year.

“I intend for us to make security a central tenet of the German presidency,” said Seehofer, who in the past has clashed with Chancellor Angela Merkel over German asylum policy.

This includes expanding data-sharing in Europe, he said. EU member states should also continue to make use of Britain’s security capabilities even after Brexit.

Seehofer also called for the workforce of the EU border agency Frontex to be bolstered at a faster rate than currently planned.

Source: Bahrain News Agency