RIGA - Latvia believes that the European Union (EU) should have an unrushed discussion on a common political understanding of European migration and asylum issues.
The government today reviewed a report from the Ministry of the Interior on the issues of the agenda of the upcoming informal videoconference meeting of EU interior ministers on November 13.
The report explains that on September 23, the European Commission (EC) revealed the new Pact on Migration and Asylum - a policy statement outlining common principles for a new, sustainable framework for EU migration policy.
Discussions at a videoconference meeting on November 13 will be held in preparation for the meeting of EU interior ministers in early December, at which the EU presidency intends to reach a common political understanding on the key elements on which there is already the strongest consensus.
The Interior Ministry also mentions Latvia's position. It points out that Latvia is still continuing the national discussions on the Migration and Asylum Pact and the related package presented by the EC.
Latvia supports the Presidency's plans to hold a comprehensive discussion on the concepts contained in the Pact, and at the same time wishes to emphasize the importance of taking into account the interests of all member states and the specific national situation of each country.
It is also important that these discussions are not rushed, without setting pre-defined deadlines for reaching an agreement. It is important to ensure that the member states have sufficient time to discuss in detail and reach a common understanding of all the concepts, according to the Latvian position.
A number of principles continue to be important for Latvia.
These principles aim to achieve a coherent and comprehensive approach to a truly sustainable management of migration flows, based on a practical, easy-to-implement and efficient system that can be flexibly adapted to different situations and national practices in the member states.
Latvia also believes that special attention should be paid to prevention in order to eliminate the root causes and contributing factors of illegal migration, and to improve the management of external borders in order to stop illegal migration flows even before the EU border.
Maximum efforts must also be made to implement an effective return and reintegration policy. Effective cooperation and strategic communication with the main countries of origin and transit used by migrants also play an important role, the Latvian position emphasizes.
"Latvia is ready to contribute, but the manifestations of solidarity can be different and its implementation requires flexibility that respects the national situation, geographical location, capacity and opportunities of each member state. This would also promote better integration of hosted people in the host country," the report said.
Latvia points out that, in special cases of emergency, the relocation of persons in genuine need of international protection may be used as one of the solidarity measures, but it is important to provide that member states' participation in any relocation activities is voluntary.