On Tuesday, 6 June, Minister of the Interior Māris Kučinskis met with the Minister for Migration of the Kingdom of Sweden, Maria Malmer Stenergard, in Riga.
During the meeting, the two countries discussed their positions on the current challenges on the European Union’s (EU) agenda in managing migration flows.
Particular attention was paid to the situation with the flow of irregular migrants at the Latvian – Belarussian border. M. Kučinskis pointed out that the Latvian authorities continue to continuously monitor the situation on the border with Belarus. The situation remains tense and the pressure continues. A particularly sharp increase in flows was observed at the end of last year, as well as now. In 2021, a total of 4045 attempts by persons to cross the Latvian – Belarusian border illegally were prevented. In 2022, 5174 attempts were prevented, while this year – already 3709.
“As regards the flow of illegal migrants from Belarus, it is clear that these are not refugees seeking asylum, fleeing danger in their own country, but a mix of hybrid warfare and people smuggling by Belarus,” said M. Kučinskis.
Attention was also drawn to the position on the proposal for a Regulation on asylum and migration management and the proposal for a Regulation on asylum procedures. Both proposals incorporate the EU-level solidarity mechanism proposed in the 2020 Pact on Migration and Asylum. This mechanism foresees that Member States facing a high pressure of asylum seekers will have the right to ask other Member States for assistance in hosting them, with financial contributions as an alternative option.
This issue is to be examined at the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 June 2023.