Baerbock: EU is freedom insurance for people and states

Berlin (dpa) – German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called on the member states and inhabitants of the European Union to stand together. “The EU is a community of states and people who want to be free together and who can only be strong and free together,” she said at a meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares in Berlin on Friday. The EU still was a freedom insurance for people and states today, Baerbock explained.

Baerbock praised the diversity and cultural autonomy of the member states. However, she warned that these must not undermine the fundamental rights of minorities, women or LGBTIQ persons. “For it is these rights that make our European Union a community of freedom, including individual freedom,” she said. The best protection for freedom, she added, was cohesion. “It is not the Commission or the Court of Justice that threaten the sovereignty of the member states of the European Union, but a fragmented Union, in which everyone looks only to themselves or to their immediate neighbourhood,” the German minister said.

On the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and Spain’s upcoming EU Council presidency from 1 July, Baerbock said: “Together, we will continue to stand by the Ukrainians in their defensive struggle against the Russian war of aggression for as long as necessary.” A real peace in Ukraine could only stem from freedom and not from submission, she said. “We will stand alongside the people of Moldova and the Western Balkan states and make it clear to them that we are serious about the European perspective of their countries.” (April 21)

Police representatives from 24 European capitals in Tirana for the security of the Union

Tirana (ATA) – The 43rd European Capital Police Conference took place from April 18 to 21 in Albania. The main topic of the conference, bringing together the police chiefs from capitals across Europe, was the fight against cybercrime.

During the conference, discussions and ideas were exchanged at a strategic level. Also, current issues were discussed and contributions were made to the cohesion, mutual understanding and cooperation of European police organizations.

Common challenges and cooperation in the fight against organised crime – for example Joint Investigation Teams (JIT) – and ways to strengthen cooperation between police forces in this regard were discussed.

The representatives of the police of European capitals also discussed cybercrime, including the challenges faced by the police and law enforcement agencies in the investigation and detection of these crimes. They also discussed ways to guarantee order and security of sports, public and cultural events, as well as strategies for facing contemporary challenges of order and public in Europe.

On the last day of the conference, a joint declaration was presented and signed by the representatives of the police of the European capitals.

Overall, this conference provided new opportunities for more efficient cooperation between police forces in European capitals. It also represents an important step for the Albanian State Police, as Albania makes an important contribution to the security of Europe, often by participating in the joint police operations. (April 21)

Commissioner Breton in Slovenia on strengthening the defence industry and nuclear energy

Vipava (STA) – On Thursday, Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob met European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton in the Slovenian town of Vipava. The meeting, which was also attended by the ministers of defence and economy, Marjan Šarec and Matjaž Han, focused on strengthening the European defence industry and Slovenia’s role therein, as well as the importance of nuclear energy for the green transition.

Golob and Breton agreed that nuclear energy plays a significant role in the green transition. “We share the view that nuclear energy is an integral part of the green transition solution, that we need to take big steps forward in the nuclear field,” said Golob. Breton also stressed the importance of nuclear energy in the green transition, as it is energy without carbon dioxide emissions. He also stressed the importance of innovation in this field.

In the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the two leaders also spoke about strengthening the capabilities of the European defence industry. Golob presented Slovenia’s role as one of the world’s leading producers of high-tech equipment. Defence spending should be increased through support for high-tech companies in Slovenia, Golob said. (April 20)

Spain’s Interior Minister urged agreement on EU asylum reform

Vienna (APA) – During a visit to Vienna, Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska urged states to agree on the European Pact on Asylum and Migration. Before a meeting with Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner on Thursday, Grande-Marlaska said that it was imperative that the EU states reach an agreement before the European elections next year. Karner wanted to discuss Spain’s experiences in its cooperation with Morocco with his counterpart.

Spain takes over the EU Council Presidency on 1 July and wants to make the reform of the EU asylum system a top priority. “The European Parliament already has a common position, so it is important that we also find an agreement at the level of the European Council,” said the Spanish Interior Minister at a joint press event with Karner. He expressed confidence that there would be a convergence between the different positions of the EU states.

While internal EU countries like Austria have been pushing for years for countries at the EU’s external border like Italy or Spain to register incoming migrants more completely, the latter demand in return a fairer distribution of asylum seekers within Europe. However, Austria, among others, rejects this. So far, therefore, there is only the voluntary acceptance of a few migrants by some states – above all Germany – via the so-called solidarity mechanism.

Grande-Marlaska advocated the protection of the Schengen area, which is free of border controls. For Spain, the Schengen area is “a cornerstone of our community,” he said. Spain has always been an advocate of the protection of the external borders. If it is not possible to protect the external border of the European Union, internal border controls should only be “the last solution, which we should only resort to in an emergency,” Grande-Marlaska stated.

Karner praised the close cooperation between Austria and Spain in many areas. At the meeting, he was particularly interested in Spain’s “intensive” experience of cooperation with Morocco in the field of migrant returns and readmissions. Austria, too, recently sought more cooperation in the field of migration during a visit to Morocco by Karner and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. (20.4.2023)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.