October session of the Justice and Home Affairs Council
On 7 and 8 October 2013, the Council discussed data protection (the "one-stop-shop" principle) and migration issues, in particular the situation of refugees in Syria and the tragedy at sea near Lampedusa.
Refugees and migration
The Council had an in–depth discussion on Syria, in particular the protection of refugees. It recalled that the EU is committed to stepping up assistance to the populations concerned in Syria and neighbouring countries.
The Council invited the Commission to continue work on the creation of a Regional Protection Programme, which is intended to improve the protection of refugees in the area and support socio-economic development in host countries.
Concerning the tragedy at Lampedusa, ministers discussed what the EU can do to prevent similar events in future. As proposed by Italy, the Commission will set up a task-force to identify the tools that the EU has at its disposal and that could be used in a more effective way.
In connection with the data protection package, ministers discussed the key issue of the "one-stop-shop" principle.
According to this principle, when the processing of personal data takes place in more than one member state, one single supervisory authority should be competent for monitoring the activities of the controller or processor throughout the EU, and the supervisory authority of the member state in which the controller or processor has its main establishment should act as the "one-stop-shop".
Ministers provided guidance for further work on the mechanism at expert level.
Press release - Data protection: Council supports the "one-stop-shop" principle
Juozas Bernatonis, Justice Minister of Lithuania, said:
"I would like to say that the Council generally supports the principle that the draft regulation should provide for a "one-stop-shop" mechanism in important cross-border cases in order to arrive at a single decision in respect of companies operating in several member states.
The aim is to develop a simple, fast mechanism that would contribute to a more consistent application of the data protection rules in the EU, to ensure legal certainty and reduce the administrative burden.
This is an important factor to enhance the cost-efficiency of the data protection rules for international business, thus contributing to the growth of the digital economy".
Data protection: what's at stake?
Other topics on the agenda
The Council agreed on a general approach (basis for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final text) on the proposal for a directive on the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law.
Its strong aim is to strengthen the current rules to improve the prevention, investigation and sanctioning of money counterfeiting in the EU.
Ministers also decided to move the European Police College (CEPOL) provisionally to Budapest in Hungary, as the United Kingdom no longer wishes to host the agency.
CEPOL's mission is to bring together senior police officers from police forces in Europe and encourage cross-border cooperation in the fight against crime, public security and law and order by organising training activities and research findings.
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA [First reading]