Sun. Jun 26th, 2022

Luxembourg. 10 June 2022

Home affairs (10 June 2022)

Asylum and migration

The Council very broadly supported the first step of the gradual approach to migration and asylum proposed by the presidency, including the screening regulation, the Eurodac regulation and the solidarity mechanism.

In the coming days, the presidency and the Commission will hold a meeting of the solidarity platform to operationalise the declaration on solidarity. The presidency will also formalise the adoption of the negotiating mandates for the screening and Eurodac regulations.

EU migration policy (background information)

EU asylum reform (background information)

 

Schengen borders code: adoption of the general approach

As part of the presidency’s move to strengthen and reform Schengen, the Council today adopted its general approach on the reform of the Schengen borders code. This reform: (i) provides new tools to combat the instrumentalisation of migration flows; (ii) establishes a new legal framework for external border measures in the event of a health crisis, drawing lessons from the COVID-19 experience; (iii) modernises the legal framework for reintroducing internal border controls, to ensure the principle of free movement while addressing persistent threats; and (iv) introduces alternative measures to such controls.

Ministers also discussed the situation of the Schengen area. They responded to the main challenges and conclusions of the Schengen evaluations presented in the Commission’s report on the state of Schengen and discussed the lines of action proposed by the presidency for the coming months. These lines of action aim to strengthen the functioning of the Schengen area and cover several aspects, including the political governance of the Schengen area, external and internal borders, police cooperation, JHA information systems and visa and return policies.

Schengen borders code: Council adopts its general approach (press release, 10 June 2022)

Ministers also adopted without discussion 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. It introduces a more strategic focus for the mechanism, simplified and accelerated evaluation and monitoring procedures, closer cooperation with all relevant stakeholders and a stronger strategic role for the Council.

Over lunch, ministers held a political discussion on the activity of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). They discussed the deployment of the standing corps, the governance of the agency, their expectations as regards the implementation of its mandate and the prospects for developing Frontex’s cooperation with third countries.

 

Response to the situation in Ukraine

Ministers took stock of the implementation of the 10-point plan for stronger European coordination on welcoming people fleeing the war from Ukraine. They stressed the need to continue work on the full implementation of the plan, including support for the reception and integration of people fleeing the war and assistance to Moldova. They also examined whether further action might need to be taken in the medium and long term, in particular with regard to contingency plans and possible additional financial needs.

Ministers also discussed measures to prevent and combat the possible trafficking in human beings and firearms and stressed the importance of remaining very vigilant on the evolution of criminal threats.

The 10-point plan: for stronger European coordination on welcoming people fleeing the war from Ukraine (European Commission)

EU solidarity with Ukraine (background information)

 

Police cooperation

The Council adopted general approaches for a directive on information exchange between law enforcement authorities and the regulation on automated data exchange for police cooperation (Prüm II).

In addition, in order to effectively combat crime and respond to new criminal threats, the Council adopted a recommendation on operational police cooperation.

Council adopts two general approaches and a recommendation to improve operational police cooperation and information exchange (press release, 10 June 2022)

 

Any other business

Ministers were briefed on the cooperation between competent authorities dealing with counter-terrorism, in the presence of the counter-terrorism group (CTG).

The presidency informed ministers of work done on non-legislative activities, in particular the implementation of the EU drugs strategy and action plan (2021-2025) and the fight against radicalisation.

It also informed ministers about the latest developments in work on current legislative proposals.

Information on current legislative proposals

The presidency also reported on the preparations and agenda for the next EU-US ministerial meeting in the area of justice and home affairs.

The upcoming Czech presidency of the Council presented its work programme and priorities for the next six months.

 


Justice (9 June 2022)

Judicial responses to the situation in Ukraine

The Council exchanged views on the appropriate judicial responses in the context of the war in Ukraine.

Ministers confirmed the need to continue the coordination begun by the French presidency to support investigation and prosecution in relation to international crimes. Ministers reiterated their commitment to ensuring that, to the fullest extent possible, this war does not cause even greater suffering for displaced minors. Further to the démarches by Ukraine, they confirmed the importance of a political response at EU level.

Ministers also discussed the Commission’s recent proposal to extend the list of ‘EU crimes’ to violations of EU restrictive measures, given the exceptional situation and the need to ensure the effectiveness of EU sanctions. They responded very positively to the proposal, and discussions at technical level will resume quickly in order to meet the European Council’s call for speed.

Judicial responses to the situation in Ukraine (discussion paper)

EU solidarity with Ukraine (background information)

EU restrictive measures against Russia over Ukraine (background information)

The Commission proposes rules on freezing and confiscating assets (European Commission, 25 May 2022)

 

Rights of the child

The Council adopted conclusions on the EU strategy on the rights of the child. The conclusions have a particular focus on the protection of children’s rights in crisis or emergency situations, in light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

More generally, the member states are called on to develop policies to enforce the rights of all children without discrimination, to increase efforts to prevent and combat all forms of violence against children, to strengthen their justice systems so that they respect the rights of all children and to increase opportunities for children to be responsible and resilient members of the digital society. A network of national contact points will make it possible to provide a more effective response to abduction alerts.

Council adopts conclusions on the rights of the child (press release, 9 June 2022)

 

Environmental crime

The Council agreed on a partial general approach on the draft environmental crime directive. The partial general approach covers the articles and recitals defining criminal offences. Instead of the nine offences that currently exist under EU criminal law, ministers agreed on the definition of 20 offences, thus broadening and clarifying the scope of conduct that is prohibited because it harms the environment. This includes timber trafficking, a major cause of deforestation in some parts of the world, the illegal recycling of polluting boats and serious breaches of legislation on chemicals.

Ministers also discussed the harmonisation of sanction levels in order to provide guidance for further work.

Proposal on environmental crime: partial general approach

 

Digitalisation of judicial cooperation in criminal matters

To step up the effectiveness of the tools for judicial cooperation in criminal matters and, as a result, the fight against cross-border crime, the Council approved Council general approaches on a proposal regarding digital information exchange in terrorism cases and on a proposal to establish a collaboration platform for joint investigation teams.

These proposals are part of ongoing efforts to modernise and digitalise cross-border judicial cooperation, making it easier for prosecutors and judges to exchange information and bring to justice a growing number of criminals and terrorists acting across borders.

Judicial cooperation: Council adopts negotiating mandate on two proposals to improve information exchange (press release, 9 June 2022)

A digital future for Europe (background information)

 

International transfers of personal data

Over lunch ministers exchanged views on data protection in the context of international transfers of personal data. The Commission presented the state of play of discussions with the US regarding the regulatory reforms needed to adopt a new adequacy decision for the transfer of personal data, following the invalidation of the two previous decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Ministers stressed the importance of adopting a robust framework that respects the existing rulings of the Court of Justice and provides businesses with the legal certainty they need.

Ministers also discussed more generally the issue of transfers of personal data and the need for a coherent and ambitious European policy on this issue, given that such transfers have become a major strategic challenge in several important areas of public policy.

Transfers of personal data (presidency paper)

 

Any other business

Ministers took stock of the ongoing negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament regarding the e-evidence proposals. The two institutions are now engaged in in-depth work to confirm a number of points of convergence and to prepare for political discussions on the central points of the text, which are scheduled for 14 June.

E-evidence proposals: progress report

Better access to e-evidence to fight crime (background information)

 

Ministers were informed about the state of play on the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). During the current presidency, the Council of Europe ad hoc group met for the 13th time. In parallel to this work, experts also focused on the preparation of the internal EU rules that will be needed.

The Commission presented its guidelines on extradition, published on 8 June 2022. This initiative notably follows concerns raised by some member states regarding the instrumentalisation of certain criminal prosecutions launched by third countries against EU citizens, including requests to member states for arrest and extradition.

Guidelines on extradition (European Commission)

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

Information on current legislative proposals

It also presented the agenda for the next EU-US ministerial meeting in the area of justice and home affairs.

The upcoming Czech presidency of the Council presented its work programme and priorities for the next six months.

The Council also adopted without discussion the items on the lists of legislative and non-legislative A items.

 

Meeting information

Meeting n°3878

Luxembourg

9 June 2022, 09:30

 

Preparatory documents

Provisional agenda

Provisional agenda

List of A items, non-legislative activities

List of A items, legislative deliberations

Background brief

 

Outcome documents

List of participants

List of participants

 

Press releases

Council adopts two general approaches and a recommendation to improve operational police cooperation and information exchange – 10 June 2022, 16:20

Schengen borders code: Council adopts its general approach – 10 June 2022, 16:15

European Peace Facility: Council adopts assistance measure in support of the Balkan Medical Task Force 10 June 2022, 15:45

Council adopts conclusions on the rights of the child 9 June 2022, 17:10

Terrorism: Council adopts conclusions intended to promote further actions to protect Europeans – 9 June 2022, 15:45

Judicial cooperation: Council adopts negotiating mandate on two proposals to improve information exchange – 9 June 2022, 11:30

EU Drugs Agency: Council adopts negotiating mandate on strengthening the role of the agency – 9 June 2022, 10:00