EU Summit discussed internal security, migration and Brexit

Government Communications Department 20.9.2018 16.19 | Published in English on 21.9.2018 at 12.46
Press release 429/2018
Photo: BKA/Michael Gruber

Internal security in the EU was one of the main topics in the informal meeting of the EU Heads of State or Government held on 19 and 20 September in Salzburg. The meeting also discussed migration and the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“In our discussions on internal security, I highlighted that we must take cyber and hybrid threats very seriously. We must make sure that the functioning of our societies cannot be weakened and that the unity of the EU cannot be fractured”, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said.

The EU Heads of State or Government also discussed issues such as combatting terrorism and the European Commission’s proposal to deploy 10,000 border guards on a permanent basis to monitor the EU’s external borders.

“Finland’s position is that each Member State is primarily responsible for protecting its own borders. At the same time, however, it is worth developing cooperation at the EU level while also bearing in mind that the needs and border control systems in each country vary considerably”, Sipilä said.

On Thursday the EU leaders also convened without the UK and discussed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It is possible that the withdrawal agreement negotiations and the related EU-UK political statement on the UK’s relations with the EU might not be concluded before October or November.

“Rather than keeping to schedule, it is more important to achieve a controlled exit and an operational withdrawal agreement; the EU’s negotiating position is clear and there is no need to change it”, Prime Minister Sipilä said.

In their working dinner on Wednesday, the EU leaders discussed the way forward in the migration measures adopted in the June European Council. The Member States have explored ways in which those saved at sea can be helped in controlled centres to be set up in the EU area, and in the framework of the regional disembarkation platforms. It was noted in the discussions that developing cooperation with the African countries is crucial. In Finland’s view the decisions should be implemented swiftly.

“It is important to start implementing these decisions in practice. In my speech I underlined that sufficient resources must be allocated for these arrangements. I also stressed that the strategic role of Africa for Europe is growing. We must think of new and innovative ways to support Africa. Especially trade and investments must be increased”, Sipilä said.

Inquiries: Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Riikka Pakarinen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 580 0833 and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office