Simonetta Sommaruga welcomed the fact that the discussions among 28 European Union countries on migration ended with acknowledgement to stick to international law, in particular the Geneva Convention on Refugees.
“The strengthening of the EU’s external borders must not lead to a closure of borders to refugees,” said Sommaruga on Friday evening.
She said that welcoming those that faced persecution was one of Europe’s fundamental values and Switzerland is committed to not go back on this. The member of the seven-person Swiss Federal Council also pointed out that the main host countries for refugees were not European, but those neighbouring crisis regions such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey or Ethiopia. However, the justice minister advocated for a fair and fast asylum procedure that ensures a more rapid integration of those who need protection and a significant return of those who do not need it.
According to Sommaruga, Europe is not facing a migration crisis, but a political crisis. So much so that the decision taken on Thursday night in Brussels to finally incorporate into the Dublin Agreement the creation of asylum processing centres outside the EU, in North Africa, is far from clear at the moment. Switzerland will remain attentive to this development, because it will have to take on board any changes to the Dublin Agreement. Sommaruga added that because Switzerland lies in the middle of the continent, any EU decision on migration concerns it directly or indirectly.