The German Council Presidency will be guided by the motto “Together for Europe’s Recovery.” With these words in mind, the justice ministers of the 27 EU member states will focus on the following challenges during their informal video conference on 6 July:
1.Dealing with the Corona pandemic in liberal democracies governed by the rule of law
In the initial months of the Corona pandemic, the European States were forced to considerably restrict freedoms in order to protect the life and health of their citizens. They took various approaches toward that end. At their video conference on 6 July - the first informal meeting during the German Presidency - the justice ministers will initiate a political debate on how the citizens have dealt with the restrictions of their rights. They will also discuss the question of how policymakers have reacted to criticism, to scientific findings, and to decisions by the judiciary. The goal is to better equip democracies and States governed by the rule of law to cope with crises such as the Corona pandemic and to guarantee democratic participation at all times.
2.Countering disinformation and hate speech
Rumours, conspiracy theories and fake news are spreading at lightning speed during the pandemic. Denying and distorting facts about the virus can endanger lives. And it also endangers the foundations of democratic discourse and debate.
Indeed, conspiracy theories about the Corona pandemic often include hatred against people of Asian descent or racism and anti-Semitism. This shows once again how urgent it is to combat hate speech on the Web, fake news and disinformation. The Justice Ministers will exchange views about counter-strategies and future measures - for example, the Digital Services Act planned by the European Commission.
The topics of victim protection and support for victims of terrorism will also be on the agenda of the Justice Council.
Chaired by German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, participants will include the 26 additional justice ministers of the EU as well as the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourová, the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynolds, and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove; participants from the European Parliament will include the Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), Adrián Vázquez Lázara, MEP, and the Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Juan Fernando López Aguilar, MEP.
The videoconference can be followed in the livestream, starting from 8:15 on 6 July, in the link below.