Justice minister discusses migration issues

Simonetta Sommaruga, the Swiss justice minister, has been discussing Schengen-related and migration issues with her European counterparts in Luxembourg.

This content was published on October 27, 2011 - 22:51 and agencies

Key talks were held at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on better controlling people entering and leaving the “borderless” Schengen area. Sommaruga in particular welcomed measures against visa abuse.

Switzerland is a Schengen state, although it is not a member of the European Union.

The “smart borders” initiative involves an electronic entry and exit system as well as a registered travellers programme for frequent travellers. Switzerland could also benefit from this as it would allow it to check for potential abuses, a justice ministry statement said.

But Sommaruga also pointed to the system needing to be cost-effective and that data protection is guaranteed, the communiqué added.

Ministers also discussed the wave of migration to some European Union nations from the Balkans after visa requirements were lifted for some Balkan nations. Sommaruga welcomed measures to stop abuse of the system. Switzerland has also seen a rise in asylum requests from some Balkan countries, the statement said.

On the question of migrants from North Africa, the Swiss minister signalled her interest in participating in an exchange of information and common border protection.

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