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Justice and Home Affairs Pre-Council Statement

Volume 596: debated on Tuesday 9 June 2015

The Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council is due to be held on 15 and 16 June in Luxembourg. My hon. Friend, Lord Faulks QC, Minister for Civil Justice and I will attend on behalf of the United Kingdom. As the provisional agenda stands, the following items will be discussed.

Justice day on 15 June will begin with the Latvian presidency seeking a general approach on the proposed data protection regulation. The file is subject to qualified majority voting.

This will be followed by the presidency seeking a general approach on the draft regulation on promoting the free movement of citizens and businesses by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents in the EU. The aim of the proposal is to reduce the problems associated with language barriers when people present documents such as birth and marriage certificates in different member states.

The Latvian presidency is aiming for a consensus on the first 16 articles of the draft European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) regulation, covering certain aspects of its internal workings. The UK did not opt in to this proposal.

During lunch there will be a discussion on the judicial dimension of the new digital single market strategy. Under AOB, the presidency will provide information on other current legislative proposals and on the EU-US justice and home affairs ministerial meeting, which was held in Riga on 2 and 3 June.

Finally, the Luxembourg delegation will present the programme for its forthcoming presidency—July-December 2015.

The interior session on 16 June will begin in mixed committee with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland—non-EU Schengen states. The Council will debate the Commission’s communication “A European Agenda on Migration”, and receive an update on the outcome of the special meeting of the European Council on 23 April, which agreed a series of immediate actions to respond to the situation in the Mediterranean.

During the main interior meeting member states will be asked to agree Council conclusions establishing the EU internal security strategy (ISS) for the next five years. This is in line with the commitment in the new strategic guidelines agreed at the European Council in June 2014 to review the ISS (2010-2014.) The renewed ISS will set strategic objectives for EU co-operation on internal security matters.

Ministers will then discuss progress in delivering European counter-terrorism priorities since the 12 February statement of the member states of the European Council. These priorities are divided into three objectives: ensuring the security of citizens, preventing radicalisation and safeguarding values, and co-operating with international partners. National security remains a member state competence.

Under AOB, the presidency will provide information on current legislative proposals and on the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs ministerial meeting—held in Riga from 2 to 3 June 2015.

The Austrian delegation will then provide information on the Salzburg forum ministerial conference, held in St Pölten (Austria) from 4 to 5 May and on the international ministerial conference on “Tackling Jihadism Together”, held in Vienna on 20 March.

Finally, the incoming Luxembourg presidency will present its programme and Slovenia will present on the justice and home affairs ministerial conference of the Brdo process and south-east European co-operation process held in Budva (Montenegro) from 16 to 17 April 2015.