On 20 November, I attended the extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels. The meeting was convened by the Luxembourg presidency in response to the appalling terrorist attacks which took place in Paris on 13 November 2015. Interior and Justice Ministers adopted strong Council conclusions on counter-terrorism which urge immediate action on passenger name records, firearms, strengthening controls of external borders, information sharing, terrorist financing, and the criminal justice response. Ministers also approved conclusions on the criminal justice response to radicalisation.
During the meeting I welcomed the agreement on the implementing regulation on deactivation standards and the Commission’s proposal for a directive amending Council directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. I highlighted that the UK has strong legislation on firearms, which has contributed to a significant reduction in crimes involving firearms. I reiterated the importance of progress on the passenger name records directive, and that it remained of vital importance to gain rapid agreement and ensure intra-EU flights were covered. I supported actions to strengthen the external border and stated that proactive sharing of criminal records data could improve member states’ intelligence picture. Finally, I underlined that member states needed to have effective frameworks to tackle terrorist financing, and highlighted that new initiatives should not compromise existing regimes.