Justice (Thursday 6 June)
The Council gave two mandates to the Commission to negotiate an agreement facilitating access to e-evidence with the US and to participate in the negotiations in the Council of Europe on a second additional protocol to the Cybercrime Convention. Both instruments would aim to facilitate access to e-evidence, such as e-mails or documents located in the Cloud, as part of criminal investigations. They will complement the EU framework on access to e-evidence currently being discussed by the EU institutions. On the latter, the Council also adopted today a complement to its position on the e-evidence regulation, regarding the certificates.
The Council tasked the Commission to continue working on the issue of retention of data for investigating serious crime efficiently and to produce a comprehensive study on possible solutions for retaining such data, including the consideration of a future legislative initiative.
Ministers also noted that while data retention is an essential tool for fighting serious crime, its use should take into account the need to protect fundamental rights and freedoms.
Data retention is critical to our being able to access vital evidence as part of the fight against serious crime. Today, we tasked the Commission to come forward with a study so we can make rapid progress towards a solution which strikes the right balance between the needs of our law enforcement and judicial authorities and our commitment to protect fundamental rights and freedoms.
Ana Birchall, Romanian Vice Prime Minister, Minister for Justice ad-interim
Digitalisation of judicial cooperation
Ministers debated the issue of the digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters. The debate was held in the framework of the revision of the regulations on the service of documents and on the taking of evidence. Adaptation of European judiciaries to digital developments is an important line of action which can help consolidating the area of freedom, security and justice, and facilitate easy interaction with citizens.
The presidency concluded the Council confirmed the need to modernise processes and noted the preference expressed for a decentralised and secured IT system, which could be based on the software solution provided by e-Codex. Its use could be mandatory only with certain conditions, including a longer transition period, a back-end reference system to be provided by the Commission and appropriate exceptions when necessary. Work will continue at expert level under the Finnish presidency.
Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)
The Council invited the Commission to submit a draft decision related to the participation of the EU to the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) with observer status.
GRECO was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe. GRECO’s objective is to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure.
6 June 2019
10:20 Public session
14:30 Public session
17:15 Press conference
7 June 2019
16:30 Public session
17:30 Press conference
Home affairs (Friday 7 June)
Home affairs ministers will discuss the future of EU law enforcement policy in the run-up to the adoption of the next strategic agenda at the June European Council. This discussion is expected to be continued in more detail later this year.
Ministers will seek to agree on a partial general approach on the reform of the return directive. This proposal aims to improve the rate of returns of those without the right to stay in Europe.
The Council will also aim to reach partial general approaches on sectoral home affairs funds in the context of the next multiannual financial framework (MFF). The agreements would exclude budget-related and horizontal issues which are currently being discussed as part of the negotiations on the EU's next multiannual financial framework for the period 2021 to 2027.
Ministers will be briefed on the cooperation between competent authorities dealing with counter-terrorism. The counter-terrorism coordinator will update ministers on the implications of 5G in the area of internal security.
Finally, ministers will discuss the challenges ahead on migration and asylum. Over lunch, ministers will exchange views on this topic with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).