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Author: EU Council

Remarks by Jeroen Dijsselbloem at the press conference following the Eurogroup meeting of 24 April 2015

Good afternoon and welcome to this press conference in a quite impressive venue. Let me start by thanking Janis Reirs for hosting us so well in Riga. Today we were joined in our meeting by Daniele Nouy, who is a chair of the the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SMM) and by the new Estonian Finance Minister, Sven Sester, who also informed us about new government and their ambition.  I realise that all eyes are on Greece. But today was a regular Eurogroup so we had a full agenda. We also talked about the situation in Cyprus and in Spain. We discussed the report on the SSM and exchanged views on the implementation of the recommendations addressed to the euro area as a whole. As you know, this is part of the Eurogroup’s thematic discussions to promote growth enhancing structural reforms.  Greece  Today, the institutions informed us about the ongoing talks with the Greek authorities and we took stock of the situation. As agreed in February, a comprehensive and detailed list of agreed reforms is needed as a basis for a successful conclusion of the current review. I would like to reiterate again that a comprehensive deal is necessary before any disbursements can take place.  Over the past few weeks, there have been intense discussions between the Greek authorities and the institutions. I understand that there have been recently some positive...

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Remarks by President Donald Tusk following the special European Council meeting on migratory pressures in the Mediterranean

Good evening. Today, we discussed the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean at the highest political level. Saving the lives of innocent people is the number one priority. But saving lives is not just about rescuing people at sea. It is also about stopping the smugglers and addressing irregular migration. Let me be clear. Europe did not cause this tragedy. But that does not mean we can be indifferent. We are facing a difficult summer and we need to be ready to act. Therefore, leaders have agreed four priority areas for action. First, leaders have asked the High Representative to propose actions in order to capture and destroy the smugglers’ vessels before they can be used. Naturally, this will be in line with international law and respect for human rights. We will step up co-operation against smuggling networks by working through Europol, and by deploying immigration officers to third countries. Second, we have agreed to triple the resources available to Triton, our border mission in the Central Mediterranean, and to enhance its operational capability. The mission will continue to carry out its mandate and respond to distress calls where necessary. I am happy to announce that leaders have already pledged significantly greater support, including many more vessels, aircraft and experts, and money. Third, we need to limit irregular migration flows and to discourage people from putting their lives at risk....

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Special meeting of the European Council, 23 April 2015 – statement

1. The situation in the Mediterranean is a tragedy. The European Union will mobilise all efforts at its disposal to prevent further loss of life at sea and to tackle the root causes of the human emergency that we face, in cooperation with the countries of origin and transit. Our immediate priority is to prevent more people from dying at sea. 2. We have therefore decided to strengthen our presence at sea, to fight the traffickers, to prevent illegal migration flows and to reinforce internal solidarity and responsibility. Given that instability in Libya creates an ideal environment for the criminal activities of traffickers, we will actively support all UN-led efforts towards re-establishing government authority in Libya. We will also step up efforts to address conflict and instability as key push factors of migration, including in Syria. 3. We today commit to: Strengthening our presence at sea a) rapidly reinforce EU Operations Triton and Poseidon by at least tripling the financial resources for this purpose in 2015 and 2016 and reinforcing the number of assets, thus allowing to increase the search and rescue possibilities within the mandate of FRONTEX. We welcome the commitments already made by Member States which will allow to reach this objective in the coming weeks; Fighting traffickers in accordance with international law b) disrupt trafficking networks, bring the perpetrators to justice and seize their assets, through...

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