Friday

26th Apr 2019

Brussels outlines justice priorities for next 5 years

  • The commission proposal also aims to tackle migration and set up "burden-sharing" among member states (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission on Wednesday (10 June) presented the priorities it would like the EU to focus on in the realm of justice for the next five years, including increased security co-operation and improved immigration management.

The paper presented by the EU executive calls for tighter border controls and says member states should exchange more information on criminal and security matters, as well as increase police co-operation in general.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Closer co-operation is needed to better tackle organised crime and terrorism, EU justice commissioner Jacques Barrot, whose cabinet drafted the document, said at a press conference in Brussels.

"Organised crime progresses without caring about national frontiers," he stressed.

One way to work on this would be to set up an exchange programme for police officers – "an Erasmus programme for the police" – and improve the one that exists in that respect for judicial staff, the commissioner said.

The draft also focuses on citizens' rights and calls on member states to ensure they fully implement EU legislation on free movement of people in the bloc.

It also says court decisions issued in another member state should be recognised faster, without intermediate procedures, in order to allow EU citizens to fully exercise their rights.

Speaking at the same news conference, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the proposals aimed to "promote citizens' rights, make their daily lives easier and provide protection."

"This calls for effective and responsible European action in these areas," he added.

The commission president stressed the EU executive was not aiming to win for itself more powers at the expenses of member states, who are especially reluctant to give up sovereignty in such sensitive areas.

"There are objective facts that justify the European approach," he said, pointing out that there are currently some eight million Europeans living or working in another EU state.

"This is not a question of power-grabbing for the European commission ... We are not trying to have more powers at the European level for the sake of having more power," he added.

Immigration

In its paper, the commission also re-affirmed proposals it had made earlier in the areas of immigration and asylum, insisting on "burden-sharing and solidarity" between member states as regards asylum seekers.

It also says legal migrants should have the same status across the 27-nation bloc and that they should have easier access to the job market.

The bloc's external borders agency, Frontex, would be given a larger budget and more power in patrolling the EU's borders to prevent both human trafficking and irregular immigration.

The document presented on Wednesday is the commission's contribution to the so-called Stockholm programme, which is to outline the bloc's priorites in the area of justice, security and liberty for the next five years.

The previous one – the Hague programme – had been agreed under Dutch presidency in 2004.

The Stockholm programme is set to be examined by the European Parliament in November, and the commission hopes it could be approved by EU leaders in December, under Swedish EU presidency.

But with the area being particularly sensitive and member states having already shown disagreements on certain points – such as taking in asylum seekers from other EU countries – the discussions are unlikely to be wrapped up quickly.

Sweden to push for more transparent EU migration rules

The upcoming Swedish EU presidency will push for more transparent rules governing migration when it begins negotiations on a five-year justice and home affairs programme later this year, Europe minister Cecilia Malmstrom said on Monday.

Prison suicide rates in France highest in Europe

Suicide rates per 10,000 inmates in 2017 in France stood at 12.6, higher than any other European country. The latest figures are part of a much bigger report out Tuesday by the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

News in Brief

  1. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  2. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  3. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  4. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  5. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave
  6. Far-right party leaders meet in Prague
  7. Priest shames politicians at reporter's funeral in Belfast
  8. Putin offers Russian citizenship to Ukraine regions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  2. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  3. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  4. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  5. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  6. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  7. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  8. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us