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Brussels, 22 March 2011

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs, on her upcoming trip to Egypt

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, travels to Cairo today in order to discuss the current situation in North Africa.

The Commissioner said: "I am going to Egypt today, together with the Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi, to discuss the current situation in North Africa with the Egyptian authorities. This mission is part of the overall reaction of the European Union to the new political developments in the South Mediterranean and to the need to redefine our relations with the region.

During my meetings with the Egyptian authorities, I will address the dramatic humanitarian emergency in North Africa produced by the conflict in Libya and the effect this conflict has on the flows of refugees to the neighbouring countries.

Continued violence could create a situation where more people flee their country in search of international protection. We need to find the most effective ways of helping them. At the same time, we need to ensure that those who are not in need of such protection and are not allowed to stay in the EU are returned in safety and dignity in accordance with our relevant legal standards.

I am convinced that a lasting solution to the issue of irregular immigration can only be obtained in cooperation with the North African countries. In parallel, the EU will now start preparing the ground for the new approach – a partnership for mobility and security with the South Mediterranean countries. This will contribute to a constructive relation between Egypt and the European Union."

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