Rihards Kozlovskis, Latvian Minister for the Interior and President of the Council, said: "The terrorism threat, and in particular the threat caused by foreign terrorist fighters, is one of the biggest challenges for the EU. The Latvian Presidency is highly committed to continue the work already begun by ensuring prompt and effective implementation of the agreed measures. It is important to ensure the reinforced use of those instruments that are already at our disposal, in particular within Schengen framework, information sharing and operational cooperation."
Ministers also highlighted the importance of the Council making progress in all the areas mentioned in the European Council Statement and in the Riga Joint Statement. They will return to all these issues at their next meeting, with a view to reporting to the European Council in June 2015.
The Council reached a partial general approach on the data protection regulation, on the understanding that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The text endorsed includes the "one stop shop" mechanism (chapters VI and VII) as well as the principles for processing personal data (chapter II).
Ministers agreed that the "one stop shop" mechanism should only play a role in important cross-border cases and will provide for cooperation and joint-decision making between several data protection authorities concerned. The text clarifies that the jointly agreed decision will be adopted by the data protection authority best placed to deliver the most effective protection from the perspective of the data subject. As regards to the general principles of data processing, Ministers have established a set of principles for lawful, fair and transparent data processing.
Dzintars Rasnačs, Latvian Minister for Justice and President of the Council, said: "The approach we have reached on new data protection rules creates protection on citizens' rights more effectively. Data protection is like a rough diamond being polished and finally starting to shine and hopefully in June it will reach its full potential."