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EU: Meeting of the interior ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom
01 March 2006
Meeting of the Interior Ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, Heiligendamm, 22 and 23 March 2006
The interior ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom met in Heiligendamm, Germany, on 22 and 23 March 2006. They welcomed the interior minister of Poland as a new addition to their group founded in 2003.
The co-operation between the six countries is intended to provide an additional impetus to strengthening the area of freedom, security and justice. Similar to a “laboratory” this small circle will draw up concrete proposals to intensify co-operation in European home affairs. Other EU Member States will be fully informed about proposals made by the G6 countries and can participate in their implementation.
In order to promote integration and fight illegal immigration and terrorism, the ministers have agreed on the following specific measures.
1. Promoting integration and combating illegal immigration
The ministers emphasized the major importance of successful integration for the stability of society. Against this background, they agreed on an intensive exchange of information about their integration programmes and prerequisites, particularly information on types and methods of related tests, if in place. The ministers decided to set up an expert working group to analyze the possibility and main contents of an integration contract with immigrants or comparable instruments.
With a view to the dialogue with the Muslim Community, they agreed to inform each other about the consultation mechanisms and structures of dialogue in place in their countries as well as the inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue and cooperation with countries of origin.
The ministers are convinced that for integration efforts to have lasting success European partners need to have a common understanding of the basis for migration into Europe and effective strategies for combating illegal immigration.
The ministers therefore intend to intensify co-operation in fighting illegal immigration and link national centres. Experts from all authorities concerned (border police, police, immigration authorities) should work together to ensure information is shared at the necessary levels. With the support of EUROPOL, joint investigative teams are to be deployed to combat smuggling and trafficking of human beings or related crimes.
The ministers are committed to working towards adopting a common list of safe countries of origin and support the Commission's and the Presidency's efforts to this effect.
In addition, the ministers are committed to rapidly introducing the Visa Information System (VIS), including a sponsor’s database in VIS and police access to EURODAC, as well as full access of authorities responsible for internal security to VIS. They welcomed the fact that based on the French BIODEV II initiative, diplomatic missions abroad and selected border checkpoints will make greater use of biometrics prior to the introduction of VIS.
With regard to returning illegal residents, the ministers agreed to coordinate their action in dealing with countries of origin and transit particularly in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, to take co-ordinated action encouraging greater cooperation with third countries and to actively support the Commission in negotiating and concluding readmission agreements as emphasized in their common letter to vice-president Frattini. The ministers have decided to take concerted action with the foreign ministers in order that the countries concerned significantly improve their rates of delivery of travel documents. They will assess the actions taken and results obtained with regard to the issuance of travel documents, and develop a common strategy for dealing with countries that still do not cooperate sufficiently.
The ministers agree that effective and long-term protection of the EU’s external borders is a prerequi