Main results of the Justice and Home Affairs Council
Home affairs, Tuesday 8 October 2019
Future of internal security
Ministers discussed the challenges and opportunities brought by new technology in the area of internal security. They noted that a proactive approach is needed which enables authorities to uphold the law while at the same time protecting privacy and fundamental rights. Ministers expressed their overall support for the creation of an innovation lab at Europol which could act as a monitor of new technological developments and drive innovation. They discussed the possible tasks and priorities for this new lab, as well as those who should be involved.
Ministers also examined the links between hybrid threats and internal security. The discussion focused in particular on how the EU can better support member states in detecting, identifying and countering hybrid threats from an internal security angle. Ministers also discussed which EU agencies and mechanisms could be relevant to this work.
Changes in our societies can make our lives easier, but they also allow criminals to find new ways to commit crimes. We are determined to work together to make sure that law enforcement authorities are able to respond to new threats.. Being at the forefront of technological development and having the right tools to respond to new and complex hybrid threats is important for all of us.
Maria Ohisalo, Minister of the Interior of Finland
Right wing violent extremism and terrorism
Home affairs ministers had a debate on right-wing violent extremism and terrorism. They endorsed the need for further work on the following issues:
- create a better situational overview of right-wing violent extremism and terrorism
- continue to develop and share good practices on how to strengthen the prevention, detection and addressing of violent extremism and terrorism
- address the spread of unlawful right-wing extremist content online and offline
- cooperate with key third countries
Over lunch, ministers discussed the state of play on migration. They took the opportunity to have a general overview of the migration situation in the EU across all routes, with a particular focus on the increase of arrivals in the Eastern Mediterranean and the recent declaration between France, Germany, Italy and Malta on temporary arrangements for disembarkation.
Justice, Monday 7 October 2019
The Council adopted conclusions on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The conclusions reaffirm that the Union is based on common values such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These rights are a cornerstone of the European Union and must be fully respected by all member states and the EU institutions.
EU action against corruption
Ministers exchanged views, in public session, on the EU’s action against corruption. A large majority of ministers supported the principle of a new comprehensive EU strategy or action plan which would need to focus on areas where the EU work can bring added value. Possible synergies with existing international instruments will also be looked at. Finally, the presidency concluded there is a clear majority in support of the EU becoming a full member of the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).
Corruption affects all member states, albeit to differing degrees. Widespread corruption undermines citizens’ trust in democratic institutions and the rule of law. It also drags on economic growth. It is a challenge we need to face together, a challenge in which the EU should lead by example.
Anna-Maja Henriksson, Finland’s Minister of Justice
The Council adopted conclusions on Eurojust. It stressed the importance of the agency in the area of freedom, security and justice and underlined its importance as a cooperative structure with member states as well as with other bodies such as Europol and the future European public prosecutor’s office (EPPO).
The Council also recalled that Eurojust should be given adequate resources to face new challenges posed by technological developments and the threats resulting from the evolving security landscape.
European Convention on Human Rights – ECHR
The Council reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to accede to the ECHR. Ministers agreed to supplementary negotiating directives so the Commission is ready to resume negotiations with the Council of Europe in the near future.