FECL 13 (March 1993):


The "Second European Conference of Ministers on Illegal Immigration" was held in Budapest, on 14/15 February. Ministers of Home Affairs and Justice of 33 European countries and representatives of six international organisations, as well as observers from Canada and Argentine participated at the meeting. The only European states not present were rest-Yugoslavia, Macedonia, the Vatican, Liechtenstein and Monaco.

The Budapest gathering was the pursuit of the "Berlin Conference" held in Oktober 1991. At that occasion a particular working group had been mandated to draft proposals and recommendations for "the effective combat" against smuggling of illegal immigrants. The group worked under Austrian presidency and in cooperation with Hungary and the respective presidents of the Schengen group (see FECL No.3, p.1).

This working group now submitted recommendations on the following eight subjects to the Budapest conference:

On initiative of Austria and Germany a new working group was set up. The task of the group, called the "Budapest club", will be to monitor the fulfillment of the above proposals.

The recommendations were presented as a necessity on the grounds that illegal immigration "poses a threat to public security and stability by giving rise to criminality and illegal employment". Smuggling (of migrants) should be combatted by special police units according to a common tactical concept. For that purpose the group recommends that "compatible structures" be set up in the whole of Europe. These units should be equipped with advanced and compatible communication technics. The group further calls for centres for the exchange of information on migratory fluxes to be set up in every state in order to suppress illegal immigration, for instance under the pretext of visits, studies and business travels.

Hungary went even further with a proposal to deport illegal non-European immigrants to their countries of origin with "collective deportation flights" departing from a "centrally located European airport". There seemed to be agreement on the type and the necessity of these measures proposed by the group. The conference failed to reach consensus only on the extent of financial support to be granted to the Eastern European countries - the "front states", in the words of the German Minister of Home Affairs, Seiters - for effectively sealing off the borders, in particular by the setting up of an operative police information system.

Thomas Sperlich


Sources: Der Standard, Die Presse, Salzburger Nachrichten, APA, 16.2.92