Arriving at the conference on migrations on the Western Balkans route



At the conference today, as you know, we are focusing mainly on the Eastern Mediterranean Route, where the majority of refugees are coming through in these weeks and months in Europe. (These are) people who are fleeing from terrible situations in Syria, in Iraq, but also some from Afghanistan. This is our way of coming together around this, with all our partners in the region, not only the European Union Member States, but also our partners in the Western Balkans, in the region: Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and international agencies – all together to find common answers, common solutions to what we see is a common challenge. It is not only a European crisis, but it is first of all a regional and a global situation that we need to face together.

Today we gather all the different relevant actors, inside and outside the European Union, and also, let me say, all the different EU policies – because together with me we have the Luxembourg Presidency, Interior and Foreign Ministers together, but also the different Commissioners who have a competence on this: Avramopoulos, Hahn, Stylianides – joining forces to tackle an issue that is going to be very difficult to solve: root causes, but also humanitarian assistance and support to countries of transit.

I think we have a press conference in about 1,5 hours, where we will have all the details on what we are going to agree hopefully now.

Obviously, it will be much more than a one day meeting that will be needed to solve the crisis, but gathering together all the key actors with a common purpose, with common views, I think is a good way of dealing with that.

And by the way, let me add, as we focus on the Eastern route, we will also keep the attention high on the Southern Mediterranean one. I hope that in these hours we might have good news from Libya, because that route as well is and still keeps a very high importance for all of us in the region.