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Home affairs (Thursday 3 March)

European response to the situation in Ukraine

EU ministers today unanimously agreed on the establishment of a temporary protection mechanism in response to the influx of displaced persons from Ukraine.

Ministers agreed to activate Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof.

This will enable the EU member states to offer people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine an appropriate response for their situation. Eligible persons will be granted a protected status similar to that of refugees, in any EU country, for a renewable period of one year.

The French presidency of the Council and the European Commission welcome this agreement. This decision reflects the European Union’s full commitment to show solidarity with Ukraine and to fulfil its duty to the victims of this unjustifiable war.

The European Union will continue to do its utmost to help Ukraine and victims of the war. Ministers had the opportunity to assure their Ukrainian counterparts of this during a video conference. Faced with this crisis at the heart of our continent, Europeans are responding with unity and solidarity.

Schengen area

Ministers held an exchange of views on the situation and political governance of Schengen. They supported the presidency’s proposal to establish a Schengen Council. The member states also supported the establishment of a barometer to reflect the situation in the Schengen area.

The Council today adopted its general approach on a Council regulation reforming the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism. The regulation is intended to help make the Schengen area more adaptable to current and future challenges.

The evaluation and monitoring mechanism provides for objective and impartial evaluations to quickly identify deficiencies in the application of Schengen rules and ensure they are swiftly addressed. It also provides the basis for a dialogue on the functioning of the Schengen area as a whole.

Asylum and migration

Ministers took stock of the state of work on migration and asylum.

At the informal ministerial meeting which took place in Lille on 3 February, ministers gave broad support to the proposal for the gradual or step-by-step approach proposed by the presidency.

On this basis, work has continued at technical level to further develop the possible first step of the reform, which should fully respect the balance between external border protection, solidarity and responsibility requirements.

Civil protection

The Council today adopted conclusions calling for the adaptation of civil protection to extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Such events are becoming more frequent, intense and persistent. The EU and its member states need to take action. These conclusions are a step in this direction and seek to enhance the EU’s resilience.

Interpol red notices

The Council adopted a declaration on Interpol’s red notices. The declaration welcomes the progress made by Interpol in setting up internal mechanisms to assess, prior to the publication and diffusion of red notices, any violation of Interpol’s constitution. EU member states will continue to support Interpol in these efforts, and the Council declaration aims to highlight the importance member states give to the compliance of these notices to prevent their abuse, in particular for political purposes.

Cooperation on the fight against organised crime

Over lunch, EU ministers and the Latin American Internal Committee on Security (CLASI) discussed cooperation on the fight against transnational organised crime, with a particular focus on drug trafficking.

Any other business

The presidency informed ministers about the latest developments regarding work on current legislative proposals.

 


Justice (Friday 4 March)

E-evidence

EU justice ministers will assess progress on the e-evidence proposals. Discussions on the proposals are ongoing between the Council and the European Parliament.

Electronic evidence, or ‘e-evidence’, refers to digital data that are used to investigate and prosecute criminal offences.

Getting access to e-evidence is not always a straightforward matter for law enforcement authorities because it is often stored in another country. The main goal of the new rules proposed by the Commission is to speed up access to e-evidence regardless of the location of the data.

Hate speech and hate crime

Ministers will discuss the proposal for a Council decision on hate speech and hate crime.

Hate speech and hate crime have seen a sharp rise across Europe and have become particularly worrying phenomena. These are especially serious offenses as they undermine EU common values and fundamental rights. However, there is currently no legal basis at EU level to criminalise them.

On 9 December 2021, the European Commission proposed to include hate speech and hate crime in the list of EU crimes in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal aims to harmonise the rules on the definition of and sanctions for these criminal offences at EU level.

Fundamental rights

Justice ministers will exchange views on fundamental rights with Michael O’Flaherty, the director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, and will aim to adopt conclusions on combating racism and antisemitism.

Meeting information
  • Meeting n°3850
  • Brussels
  • 3 March 2022
  • 09:30
Preparatory documents
Outcome documents
Press releases