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new f2European Union Justice and Home Affairs Ministers aim to progress justice for growth measures & strengthen fight against terrorism

Key priorities of Ireland’s European Union Presidency will be debated at the Justice and Home Affairs Council taking place in Luxembourg on 6-7 June 2013. Justice for growth, fundamental rights and the fight against terrorism are among issues which will be addressed by the Council, chaired by Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD.

On the first day of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Justice Ministers aim to make progress on a range of justice for growth measures which include data protection, insolvency, the European account preservation order and the protection of the European Union’s financial interests against fraud.  Justice for growth, a term used to refer to the legal and regulatory measures in the justice sector which can be used to boost economic growth and stimulate job creation, is one on the main priorities of Ireland’s European Union Presidency. In particular, Ireland has prioritised advancing data protection proposals aimed at enhancing the data privacy rights of consumers and streamlining regulatory obligations for businesses across the European Union.

Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, also seeks to make progress on insolvency proposals through the agreement of broad political guidelines.  The guidelines proposed will ensure that viable businesses which get into difficulty would get a “second chance” and that measures are taken to reduce abusive forum shopping by those facing insolvency.

    Minister Shatter - "We, as Justice Ministers, must continue to do all we can to support businesses struggling to survive in the difficult economic conditions we currently face."

Speaking in advance of the Council, Minister Shatter said:

“Many legal and regulatory issues which impact on businesses and consumers fall within the scope of the Justice and Home Affairs Council.  We, as Justice Ministers, must continue to do all we can to support businesses struggling to survive in the difficult economic conditions we currently face.  It is for this reason that I will seek the support of my colleagues to significantly advance important measures on data protection, insolvency and debt recovery.”

Minister Shatter will also brief his European Union counterparts on the successful conclusion of negotiations on European Union Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights and will present Council Conclusions on the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Union Action Plan on Drugs, for adoption.

The second day of the Council will focus on home affairs, immigration and asylum issues. The fight against terrorism will be a particular focus for debate.  Ministers will hear a presentation from the European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator on the issue of foreign fighters in Syria and elsewhere and discuss issues that arise of relevance to the European Union and how they should be tackled.  The Irish Presidency will seek the support of Member States in calling on the European Union to update and strengthen its fight against radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism.

    Minister Shatter - "There is an urgent need to tackle this phenomenon quickly and comprehensively covering all relevant aspects of the issue ranging from prevention to prosecution and assistance upon return."

Minister Shatter commented:

“Unfortunately, the threat of terrorism has manifested itself again in tragic and appalling attacks in a number of Member States in recent weeks.  The problem of foreign fighters returning from conflicts abroad poses particular risks for Member States.  There is an urgent need to tackle this phenomenon quickly and comprehensively covering all relevant aspects of the issue ranging from prevention to prosecution and assistance upon return.”  

Interior Ministers will be asked to agree the European Union’s priorities for the fight against serious and organised crime between 2014 and 2017 which will include the issues of trafficking in human beings, drugs and firearms, facilitating illegal immigration and cybercrime among others.  The Commission will also present their recently published proposals on Europol. The presentation will be followed by a debate on some of the more significant aspects of the draft Regulation.

Finally, the Irish Presidency will update Ministers on a number of significant achievements in the area of border security and asylum, most notably agreements reached with the European Parliament on the completion of the Common European Asylum System and Schengen Governance.