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Friday, June 14, 2024

Embassies’ Work Has Become More Difficult Following Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Says

The Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, says that the work of embassies has become more difficult since the war began in Ukraine.

According to the Minister, the work of embassies has become more difficult in Moscow as well as Prague, where the Luxembourg embassy is responsible for Ukraine since Luxembourg never had an embassy in the Eastern European country that Russian forces have attacked since February of 2022, SchengenVisaInfo .com reports.

More than 4,000 Ukrainians are still in Luxembourg, while nearly 2,300 people from other countries sought protection in 2022, making Luxembourg one of the top three EU countries with the most requests for asylum per inhabitant.

Luxembourg is a popular destination also for immigrants as over 9,000 residence permits were granted in 2022 – 40 percent more than in the previous year. Minister Asselborn also pointed out that people coming to Luxembourg reach the country for work purposes and, indeed, are needed.

The EU enlargement plans also impact immigration rates, as Asselborn revealed. It is one of the biggest challenges for the next decade, with Ukraine and Moldova already having a candidate status, and the number of member states could go to 35 instead of 27 if all countries that want to join the EU are included, the Minister believes , while warning that with so many countries, treaties would no longer work and debates should begin as soon as possible.

“The whole world envies us for Schengen. A single visa is enough to enter 25 countries. If we question this because we believe domestically that we as a government have to stand up for the security of our country, we are mistaken. Once Schengen is down, once it collapses, it cannot be rebuilt,” the Minister stressed.

On the other hand, the Luxembourgian Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, has publicly objected to the construction of fences on the EU’s external borders. PM Bettel considers that barrier construction is expensive and not effective in addressing illegal migration, also noting that the Schengen zone needs to improve entries to the area instead of building these fences.

PM Bettel also pointed out that the need to improve entries to Schengen does not justify or exempt Europeans from the legal obligation and moral duty to offer international protection to those seeking it or take away asylum seekers’ right to apply for protection.

He also encourages the EU to work more with international partners, especially on issues such as returns, management of migration flows or the root causes of illegal migration, in addition to always seeking new alternatives for legal migration.

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