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Council discusses European foreign fighters

At the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 5 and 6 June, ministers discussed the issue of European foreign fighters and returnees from a counter-terrorism perspective.

The discussion was based on a report prepared by the counter-terrorism coordinator, in cooperation with the Commission and the EEAS. This document describes the work done so far on the four priority areas defined by the Council in December 2013 and includes new proposals for action.

The ministers welcomed the report and highlighted the importance of this issue, as illustrated by the recent attack in the Jewish Museum in Brussels. They called for further cooperation among all actors, especially regarding information exchange, and for the new measures proposed to be implemented as soon as possible. They also underlined the need for continued engagement with third countries on this issue.

In the area of counter-terrorism, the Council also adopted the revised EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism. The main objective of this strategy is preventing a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

Task Force Mediterranean

The Commission updated the ministers on the implementation of the initiatives identified by the Task Force. The Council acknowledged that the situation in the Mediterranean is of great concern, and noted the proposals made by the member states most exposed to these migratory flows, inviting the Council preparatory bodies to examine them.

The broader legislative and operational planning regarding migration and asylum will be discussed by the European Council in its next meeting, as part of the strategic guidelines for the future development of the area of freedom, security and justice.

Future development of the area of freedom, security and justice

The ministers held their last debate on the future development of the area of freedom, security and justice. The presidency will now send a letter to the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, reflecting the positions of the Council.

This letter will serve as input for the European Council to agree during its next meeting on the strategic guidelines for the area of freedom, security and justice.

Data protection

The Council agreed on a partial general approach for specific issues of the data protection regulation, including the territorial scope (Article 3(2)) and the transfer of data to third countries or international organisations (Chapter V). The ministers also debated further the "one stop shop mechanism".

The presidency briefed the Council on the state of play of the proposal for a directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data for the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties.

Other main items on the agenda

The ministers adopted conclusions on a Commission EU anti-corruption report and reached a general approach on several legislative proposals:

  • a regulation on Europol
  • a directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings
  • a regulation amending the Council regulation on insolvency proceedings