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Justice And Home Affairs Council

Volume 264: debated on Wednesday 18 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held on 25 and 26 September. [38347]

The United Kingdom was represented at the Council by the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department. The main matters dealt with at the Council were as follows.The Council adopted as "A" points, among other things, a regulation establishing a common visa list, a resolution on burden sharing of refugees, an action programme for judicial co-operation with the central and eastern European states and a decision on funding operational activity in the third pillar.The Council discussed in an open session the principle issues raised by the draft convention on enforcement of decisions and rules of jurisdiction in matrimonial matters, known as the Brussels II convention. It agreed that work would continue on developing the convention, and that a new draft text should be submitted for consideration by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November.The text of a draft convention on insolvency proceedings was initialled by the representatives of all member states. The presidency hoped that the convention would be ready for signature at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November.The Council welcomed in principle a draft joint action against racism and xenophobia. The purpose of the instrument would be to promote a comparable response by member states' criminal justice systems to racist and xenophobic acts committed within the European Union. The subject was examined by Ministers at the Informal Council on 14 and 15 October, with a view to concluding the joint action at the November Justice and Home Affairs Council.The Council discussed a number of points arising from the negotiations on the draft regulations implementing the Europol convention, and agreed that work should continue on them at official level.The Council considered requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the temporary protection of refugees and displaced persons from the former Yugoslavia. The Council instructed the K4 committee to examine this matter further at its next meeting in the light of a presentation by a representative from the UNHCR.The presidency condemned terrorist acts and welcomed efforts among the member states to tackle this problem through reinforced co-operation and improved exchanges of information.Ministers of the member states met their counterparts from the central and eastern European states, the Baltic states and Cyprus and Malta to continue the pre-accession structured dialogue with those countries on justice and home affairs. On the second day of the Council, the troika held meetings on third pillar matters with representatives from Norway, Switzerland, Morocco and the Andean pact countries.