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Foreign minister Urmas Paet: immigration pressure on Europe is increasing


Foreign minister Urmas Paet emphasized today at a conference on common European asylum policies, that due to large-scale conflicts in Syria and in different regions of Africa, immigration pressure on Europe is growing.

Speaking on the subject of the Ukraine crisis and helping residents there, foreign minister Paet emphasized the need to help people on site in Ukraine. "It is important for the European Union and international community at large to support Ukraine in building a state based on the rule of law and also to support the reform of the society there by sharing their experiences," Paet emphasized. He added that Estonia has supported Ukraine with 85 000 euros for humanitarian aid and is prepared to bring about a dozen people injured in Ukraine’s unrest to Estonia for treatment.

The challenges of the modern world, starting with globalization and ending with the aftermath of the economic crisis and the future competitiveness of Europe, place a particular focus on migration-related issues, Paet explained. “Movement between various continents is expected to grow in the future and greater migration pressure on Europe is probable,” Paet said. “Therefore, it is important to improve and develop cooperation between Member States in order to cope with the surge in the number of asylum seekers,” he added. The foreign minister also stressed that in order to understand the refugees' concerns and the complex situation, advocacy work must be done in society, and civic associations also have an important role to play in this regard.

Paet stated that it is important that all Member States make efforts to strive towards a common goal in dealing with migration issues and share common perceptions and values. “Work has been done for 15 years now to create a common European asylum system,” he said.

The conference “Challenges of the Common European Asylum System”, focusing on the future of asylum policy in Estonia and the European Union as a whole, is being organized by the Estonian Human Rights Centre and the Estonian Refugee Council. Participants of the conference include European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, Director of the UNHCR Bureau for Europe Vincent Cochetel, and Secretary General of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) Michael Diedring.

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