EU General Affairs Council, 15 April 2002 (Luxembourg)
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION - Council conclusions


"Following presentations by Prime Minister Berlusconi and Commissioner Patten, the Council considered how to deal more effectively, including by using all the instruments available in the framework of the Union's external relations, with problems arising from illegal immigration particularly at sea borders. At the end of the debate, the Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. The Council addressed the issue of EU external border controls, and in particular of sea border controls, following increased illegal immigration on Member States' shores. Fully aware of the gravity of the situation, the Council emphasises the absolute need to obtain the effective co-operation of the countries of origin and transit of this flow in the fight against illegal immigration and trafficking of human beings, and the serious violations of human rights which result from such trafficking.

2. The European Union will work to increase the rapidity and the efficiency of its action. Such action must consist of an integrated approach, ensuring appropriate co-ordination between migration policy and the best use of all the instruments available in the framework of its external relations. In this context, the Council welcomes the intention of the Commissioners concerned to convene, at short notice, an ad hoc high level meeting to address these issues.

3. Illegal immigration and trafficking of human beings by sea are matters of particular concern, endangering the life of a large number of people in distress. Any action which may help to counter these phenomena should be given priority.

4. The Council calls for the rapid implementation of the measures foreseen in the Comprehensive Plan to combat illegal immigration and trafficking of human beings in the European Union, adopted on 28 February 2002. In this context, the Council will examine the specific issue of illegal immigration and trafficking of human beings by sea at its meeting on 25 and 26 April 2002.

5. The Council invites the Permanent Representatives Committee to address urgently these issues and examine all possible measures which may be taken and enforced."

Source: Council of the European Union, press release