Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen commented on the conclusions of the special meeting of the EU Council.
In a statement released on Friday, the EC stressed the importance of unity and pointed out that the bloc needs to maintain its industry to help it achieve ambitious environmental goals.
“We have a head start with the clean-tech industry,” von der Leyen noted and added that the bloc has financial and policy support to help it become carbon neutral by 2050.
She announced plans to present legal proposals to create “a stable and simple regulatory environment” to strengthen the green sector, stressing that the EC will table the proposal in time for the EU Council meeting in March.
Commenting on migration, she commended the EU Council for recognising the issue and added “migration is a European challenge that requires a European response.”
Von der Leyen pointed out that the EC wants to finalize bloc-wide rules for migration and stated “so far, we have made good progress… and we need to keep up the good pace.”
She stressed the importance of border control and pointed out that the bloc will strengthen its external borders and curb illegal migration.
Approach to migration
The approach will focus on pilot projects to determine which solutions work best, with von der Leyen stressing that this will require EU funding as well as national support.
According to von der Leyen, bloc members should find best practices for fair and fast asylum procedures as well as returns, and relevant EU agencies should support their efforts.
She pointed out that bloc members agreed to recognize each other’s return decisions, which will speed up deportation. “If a return decision is taken in one member state, it is valid in all member states,” von der Leyen explained.
She stressed the importance of always using “the whole-of-Europe approach” when it comes to migration, especially in communication with countries of origin.
“We have many different incentives that we can use while recognizing the interests of our partners,” von der Leyen noted and concluded that the EU’s “voluntary solidarity mechanism needs to deliver to ensure effective solidarity.”