Rinkevics calls for 'long term solution' to refugee crisis

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Latvian foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said on September 5 that the European Union must arrive at a "long term solution" to the migration crisis facing its southern members "without delay" - but notably failed to specify what form such a solution should take.

After the so-called 'Gymnich' informal meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union in Luxembourg, the Latvian Foreign Ministry released a statement about Rinkevics' part in the discussions on "aspects of the external dimension of migration policy and possibilities for the use of foreign policy instruments in addressing migration flow management and the root causes of migration."

In other words, the refugee crisis and how to solve it.

The statement said Rinkēvičs "called for a long-term solution to be found as soon as possible to tackle the root causes of migration. He argued in favor of a greater focus on the stabilisation of political, economic and social situation in the EU’s neighbourhood regions."

How such "focus" should be achieved was not specified.

He also said the EU must "put more energy into the fight against criminal groupings which engage in human trafficking," without any specific mention of which forces, exercising what powers, might achieve such a result. 

He also flagged up the importance of current EU buzzword "solidarity" while simultaneously making a case for EU member states to opt out of joint action at will.

"Edgars Rinkēvičs pointed out that solidarity is an essential component of the EU’s migration policy, and yet it is crucial that the measures for redistribution and relocation of asylum seekers be complemented with sustainable solutions... and implemented only on a voluntary basis in emergency situations," the statement said.

"Latvia considers it essential to establish a system that could respond quickly with adequate resources, where appropriate, to changes in migration flows," Rinkevics said.

Details of the system proposed by Latvia and where it believes those resources should come from were not given.

Of other matters on the agenda, Rinkēvičs urged his fellow ministers not to forget about the EU's Eastern Partnership policy which was a keystone of Latvia's EU Presidency during the first half of the year but which has since largely slipped off the radar since the development of the massive humanitarian crisis in southern Europe.


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