Mobility is an inherent feature of our times, and will only increase in the future. It is something we all have an interest in encouraging but it is also something we need to manage. Schengen is one of the greatest and the most tangible achievements of European integration.
In the context of the current geopolitical instabilities that we face, we all share the same challenges – particularly on fighting irregular migration, better managing our borders and fighting organised crime and terrorism. We share a common history, and our future can only be shared and European too.
I considered it appropriate to call this press conference in order to inform you about a dark case that casts a shadow over Greek society, undermining democracy, the institutions and the dignity of public persons.
New figures published today by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) show a significant decrease in the number of asylum applications made in the EU in 2017. In total, 706,913 asylum applications were recorded in EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland in 2017, a 43% decrease compared to 2016.
We had constructive discussions on the EU's asylum system, on the external dimension of migration, and on border management – key issues that we will have to work on in the coming 5 months.
It is a very important informal meeting of the Ministers of Interior that will take place here in Sofia. We have to find a way to agree in setting up and adopting a Common European Asylum System.
It is my honour to open today’s event marking the International Holocaust Remembrance day. It is a day that we must mark and honour not just every year. It is a memory and responsibility that we must carry and uphold every day in everything we do.
Better protecting our citizens is at the very heart of our common work and a number one priority. That is why the role of your Committee is extremely important, and I look forward to your final report.
It is my pleasure to be back in this Committee to discuss with you the financial year 2016. Let me first thank the European Court of Auditors' Rapporteur, Mr Itala, for his in-depth analysis and presentation of spending in the area of migration and home affairs.
Our debate today is very timely and I would like to thank once again this House for its continuous active interest and support in our joint fight against this odious phenomenon. We will agree in this room that when dealing with trafficking in human beings what really counts is actions and results, more than intentions and words.
I know many of you well from the excellent cooperation we established since 2015 in the EU Internet Forum. It is a pleasure to be here today in larger company. You have created platforms that changed our world forever.
This is an important event, and I wish to thank Marianne for the excellent cooperation that we have on this important issue. You know as well as I do, that it is not easy to talk about integration these days.
The refugee crisis in Europe may be subsiding, but migration globally will not stop. Today, on International Migrants Day, more than 244 million people are living outside their country of birth. Human mobility will increasingly define the 21st century. If we want to be ready for it, we need to start preparing now.