Saturday 26 February 2011

From Libya to Brazil, interior goes international (EU Justice and Home Affairs Council)

Only the first day conclusions were posted on the Consilium front page, but the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council was a two day meeting. For those who may have missed the conclusions by the justice ministers and ministers of the interior of the EU member states reflecting both days of the meeting, here they are:

3071st Council meeting Justice and Home Affairs; Brussels, 24 and 25 February 2011 (Council document 7012/11; 20 pages)

In the shadow of events in Northern Africa, especially the barbaric repression in Libya, and pressures from asylum seekers and unauthorised migrants in the Southern member states of the European Union, including a future readmission agreement with Turkey, some important, but less mediatic issues were on the agenda.

These other matters included the Internal Security Strategy (ISS) of the EU, attacks against information systems, jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters (Brussels I), the right to information in criminal proceedings, the migration of the EJN-network to the European e-Justice portal, remembering the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Europe, collective redress and the enforcement of court decisions in third countries concerning custody.

In the margins of the Council meeting, the Mixed Committee with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland discussed a number of issues related to the Schengen borders: the Schengen Information System II (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS), the 2011 work programme of the European border agency Frontex, the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area, the Visa liberalisation process for the Western Balkans, visa waiver reciprocity and Canada's unilateral visa requirements for Czech nationals, and Liechtenstein's Schengen accession procedure.

Further, the Council concluded two visa liberalisation agreements with Brazil, adopted conclusions regarding the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, adopted conclusions about personal data protection in the EU, took note of a report about combating drug traficking from West Africa, adopted a decision to create a Subcommittee on Political Dialogue, Security and Human Rights with Algeria, decided to renegotiate a monetary agreement with Monaco, and decided to sign a fisheries agreement with São Tomé and Príncipe.

Interior goes international

A hefty agenda; just naming the issues, I almost ran out of breath.

It was also a wide-ranging agenda. As we saw, the issues ranged from Libya to Brazil, passing through Algeria, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, São Tomé, Switzerland, Turkey and the Western Balkans on the way, but they end up as justice and home affairs (in French: Justice et affaires intérieures, JAI) for the European Union and its member states.

Traditionally, justice and home affairs (freedom, security and justice, FSJ) were the essence of domestic politics and policies, but nowadays it is increasingly impossible to escape the need for rules and practices to deal with cross-border and international issues and aspects.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Charlemagne's notebook is one of the ”must read” blogs on European affairs, partly because its roots in the British soil.

P.S. 2: As an overview for those interested, here are the latest entries on my Euroblogs, three unilingual and one trilingual.

Grahnblawg (in Swedish): EU-rådet för allmänna frågor 21 februari 2011: Bedrövlig förhandsinformation

Grahnlaw Suomi Finland (in Swedish): EU-rådet för allmänna frågor: Vad gör Norden?

Grahnlaw: EU General Affairs Council (GAC) communication: Wrong, stupid and a missed opportunity

Grahnlaw Suomi Finland: EU cohesion policy conclusions reveal lack of transparency

Eurooppaoikeus (in Finnish): Mitä EU:n alue- ja rakennepolitiikasta puuttuu Suomessa?

Grahnlaw Suomi Finland (in Finnish): Yhteisvastuu Euroopan unionissa: Kysyntää riittää

If you share my interest in the European economy, EU business, politics or law, we could get acquainted through Twitter @RalfGrahn or Facebook.

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