The Interior Ministers of the EU Member States were gathered today in Luxembourg for the second Council meeting on Home Affairs under Danish Presidency. Danish Minister of Justice and President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Morten Bødskov, had put the fight against terrorism at the top of the agenda. Also on the agenda was the enhancement of the efforts to combat illegal immigration.
The Danish Presidency had opted for a coherent and consolidated EU-approach towards the fight against terrorism. At the meeting, the Council agreed on the need to establish a European framework for exchanging air passenger information in order to guarantee efficient and up-to-data investigative tools. Furthermore, the Ministers showed broad support for an en-hanced control of chemical substances that can be used to produce home made explosives.
The Council also decided to enhance the efforts to prevent and combat terrorism. Thus, the Council agreed to increase focus on efficient policies in place to prevent people from becoming radicalised and recruited for terror-ist purposes and to disrupt the radicalisation processes. In light of recent terrorist attacks in Europe, the Ministers also discussed the need to disrupt so-called “solo terrorists”. The nature of these types of terrorists calls for up-to-data investigative tools and efficient preventive measures.
Finally, the Council adopted a new EU action plan aimed at stepping up the fight against illegal immigration.
Danish Minister of Justice and President of the JHA Council, Morten Bødskov, states:
”I am very pleased with the results of today’s Council meeting on Home Affairs.
In 2011 and 2012, the fight against terrorism was once again brought to minds of European citizens and to the top of the agenda as Europe witnessed a number of terrorist attacks being carried out with fatal consequences. In my view, the establishment of a European PNR-system will be an important step in the fight against terrorism in Europe. I am therefore very pleased that the Council today has agreed on the need to establish such a system. I sincerely hope that the European Parliament will support the approach of the Council.
Enhanced focus on the prevention of terrorism is a crucial element in the fight against terrorism. Therefore, I am very pleased that my colleagues in the Council agreed on the need to prevent and disrupt the radicalisation processes. I am also very satisfied that there was support for a more strict control of chemical substances that can be used to produce home made explosives. Unfortunately, we have al-ready seen some frightening examples of the damage that the terror-ists’ home made explosives can cause.
Also in the area of illegal immigration the EU needs a coherent and consolidated approach. If we are to solve the challenges concerning illegal immigrants in the EU, we must be willing to face every angle of the problem and not be afraid to address the most difficult ques-tions.
I am therefore very pleased with the substantial support for the new EU action plan aimed at stepping up the fight against illegal immi-gration that was adopted at today’s meeting. We must take swift and effective action where needed both at EU’s external borders and within the Union. At the same time, we must ensure a constructive cooperation with third countries.”
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Denmark holds the Presidency of The Council of The European Union during the first six months of 2012. The Council is made up of 10 Council configurations dealing with different thematic areas. The Minister of Justice is President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council.
The general purpose of the JHA Council is to ensure that the EU remains an “area with freedom, security and justice” and the Council deals with cooperation on border control, immigration, asylum, civil protection, civil law and police and criminal law matters.
The JHA Council convenes three times during each Presidency and the meeting on 8 March 2012 is the first formal Council Meeting under the current Danish Presidency. The Danish Presidency hosted an Informal JHA Ministerial Meeting on 26-27 January 2012 in Copenhagen.