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Informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Vienna: press releases
16.7.18
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Three press releases were published by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU following an informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Vienna on 12 and 13 July 2018.

EU home affairs ministers advocate stepping up protection of external borders (12 July, pdf):

"“In order to save Schengen, we intend to work with dedication on the effective protection of EU external borders and a crisis-resistant EU asylum policy”, Austrian Federal Minister of the Interior, Herbert Kickl, said after chairing the informal meeting of home affairs ministers on 12 July 2018 in Innsbruck. This would correspond to the mandate of the European Council, “which has initiated a paradigm shift in EU asylum policy”. With regards to internal security on the whole, the Austrian Presidency aims to work towards a citizen-focused, crisis-resistant, future-oriented Security Union.

Following the discussion, it could be said: “There is broad consensus that we should focus on protecting the EU’s external borders. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) should be further strengthened and be given a corresponding mandate”, said the chair of the Council meeting. According to the Federal Minister of the Interior, regional disembarkation platforms are an excellent example of the paradigm shift initiated by the European Council. “Our primary goal is to finally put an end to people smuggling operations and the related deaths in the Mediterranean”, Herbert Kickl reported. Based on this, the Austrian Presidency will – in cooperation with the European Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and third countries – quickly develop a suitable concept."

Informal meeting of justice ministers (13 July, pdf):

"As part of the informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers, Austrian Federal Minister of Justice Josef Moser invited his European counterparts to Innsbruck on 13 July 2018. The day’s agenda included a number of future-oriented topics which will lead to even better collaboration between the EU member states and thus ultimately to noticeable improvements for citizens.

During today’s first working session, EU justice ministers discussed current questions regarding the topic of e-evidence. Providers within the EU face unclear legislation regarding the provision of data.

The core question of the discussion was how to facilitate the cross-border gathering of evidence in the future. Until now, there has been no uniform legal basis governing the response of providers who receive data provision requests from foreign judicial authorities. “Providers currently face inconsistent legal obligations. It is important to reach clarification. At the same time we have to protect the high EU standards in the area of fundamental rights”, the Federal Minister said. It is a central concern to alleviate the challenging situation for the providers who are obliged to help prosecution authorities by providing essential information while at the same time protecting personal data."

Eastern Partnership: Meeting of justice and home affairs ministers (13 July, pdf):

"The ministers responsible for justice and home affairs of Estonia, Bulgaria, Austria and Romania, representing the trio of presidencies of the Council of the EU and the incoming presidency, met in Innsbruck on 13 July 2018 with their counterparts from the Eastern Partnership countries, namely the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The European Commission was represented by the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and the Commissioner for the Security Union. The European External Action Service (EEAS) and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) were also represented.

The meeting offered an opportunity to discuss the priorities for the cooperation between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries, with ministers affirming their commitment to pursue their reform processes, in line with the key deliverables for 2020 pertaining to justice and home affairs. They focussed their discussions on the promotion of the rule of law and the fight against corruption within security and judicial authorities."

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