EU, Ukraine Discuss Illegal Migration, Human Trafficking

BERLIN, Germany -- Illegal migration, organized crime and human trafficking were discussed in talks between European Union and Ukrainian government ministers, the German EU presidency said in Berlin on Monday.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble

Ukraine was one of the main points of origin for the victims of human trafficking, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the meeting held in Luxembourg.

Ukraine's long common border with the EU made it particularly important for the EU, he said.

"Tackling illegal migration and organized crime invariably requires a joint response. This is especially urgent with regard to countering human trafficking, because Ukraine is one of the main countries of origins of the victims trafficked to Western Europe, Russia and the Middle East," Schaeuble said.

Also at the meeting was European Commission Vice-President Franco Frattini, responsible for justice, along with Justice Minister Alberto Costa and Interior Minister Rui Pereira from Portugal, which takes over the EU presidency in July.

The Ukrainian delegation was headed by Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych and Deputy Interior Minister Vasyl Marmazov.

The participants also discussed a visa facilitation agreement scheduled to take effect before the end of the year.

In its statement, the EU said migration from Ukraine had soared since independence.

The EU is assisting Ukraine in setting up adequate facilities for refugees and illegal migrants.

The 27-member bloc, which Ukraine has long-term ambitions to join, expressed satisfaction that the former Soviet republic had begun to overhaul its asylum system and encouraged Ukraine to implement the reforms soon.

Source: DPA