Minister Rantanen visits Vienna and Brussels to discuss migration and EU preparedness

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 3.6.2024 14.01 | Published in English on 3.6.2024 at 14.55
Press release

Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen met Austria's Federal Minister for the Interior in Vienna on Monday. The ministers discussed cooperation between the two countries in migration policy, ways to manage migration, and partnerships with third countries. Minister Rantanen will travel from Vienna to Brussels, where she will participate in the European Civil Protection Forum's high-level panel discussion on EU preparedness.

Finland and Austria agree on EU migration issues

Minister of the Interior Rantanen met her Austrian colleague Gerhard Karner in Vienna on 3 June. The ministers' discussion focused on ways to reduce the migratory pressure on Europe, including on how to find innovative ways to manage migration, and to cooperate with third countries. Both ministers seek to control migratory pressures in the EU and prevent human smuggling.

“We found that Austria and Finland have a lot in common and we share very similar views on migration issues in the EU. Our aim is to better manage and curb migration to Europe. For example, we must effectively prevent human smuggling and tackle the activities of criminal organisations early on. Austria is our active partner in the EU, and I found our discussion very productive,” says Minister Rantanen.

In mid-May, Finland and Austria together with 13 other EU Member States signed a joint letter to the European Commission calling for innovative solutions to address migration. The letter called attention to questions on having partnerships with third countries concerning aspects of return, enhancing the effectiveness of returns, potentially establishing return hubs, and tackling the instrumentalisation of migration. The letter aims to bring new initiatives to the next Commission's programme to reduce migration, improve the effectiveness of returns, and combat instrumentalised migration. 

In their discussion, the ministers identified key questions on cooperation. For example, both considered partnerships with countries of origin and transit important in managing migration within the EU. 

Finland emphasises the importance of developing the EU's common return policy as part of a well-functioning and credible asylum policy. The ministers explored the next steps to achieve this goal. 

Brussels agenda includes future direction of joint EU preparedness and rescEU

In Brussels, Minister Rantanen will attend the European Civil Protection Forum, one of the key European civil protection and civil preparedness events. Minister Rantanen will attend a high-level panel discussion on rescEU, the EU's strategic reserves for responding to a range of situations. Established in 2019, rescEU enables the EU to respond more quickly and efficiently to crises caused by both natural and human-induced disasters.

"Every country is responsible for ensuring their own preparedness. However, in recent years we have seen that many challenges are complex and extend beyond national borders. Hybrid action is one example of this. This is why we must be ready to respond to a diverse threat environment at EU level and through joint plans,” Minister Rantanen says.

In her addresses, the Minister will highlight Finland's preparedness union initiative, the importance of individual emergency planning, and civil defence shelters.

Minna Hulkkonen, Director General, Migration Department, tel. +358 50 460 7655, (meeting with the Austrian Minister)
Pauliina Eskola, Director of International Affairs, Department for Rescue Services, tel. +358 295 488 263, (Civil Protection Forum)

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