The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today
presented the Irish Presidency priorities in the JHA area to the JURI and
LIBE Committees of the European Parliament.
Minister Shatter said “the challenge of returning Europe’s economy to a
strong and stable position, generating growth and creating jobs will
dominate our efforts through Ireland’s Presidency. It is important to
recognise and prioritise what we in the Justice and Home Affairs area can
do to promote economic activity and growth, and vitally, encourage job
creation throughout the Union.”
The Minister informed the Committees that the Presidency is fully
supportive of the concept of Justice for Growth and will work to progress
those legislative measures which have the best potential to contribute to
growth and jobs. In particular, he highlighted the European Account
Preservation Order, the Insolvency proposals and the Data Protection
package as measures that will be given priority during the Presidency.
European Account Preservation Order
Speaking to the JURI Committee about the European Account Preservation
Order, the Minister said “This is a welcome initiative in assisting
creditors and should lead to a reduction in the risks involved in
cross-border trade and thereby encourage more cross-border business
In relation to the European Commission’s new Insolvency proposals, the
Minister stressed the importance of the EU being seen to respond to the
very significant indebtedness problems that both businesses and citizens
are suffering. Speaking in regard to cross-border insolvency proceedings,
the Minister highlighted the challenge of moving away, where possible and
appropriate, from a liquidation approach to insolvency to that of rescue
Speaking to the LIBE Committee, the Minister emphasised the priority being
given to the reform of EU Data Protection laws by the Irish Presidency. He
told the Committee, “Data Protection measures will not only serve to
protect the privacy of all European citizens, a valuable end in itself, but
in doing so they will also increase the confidence and trust consumers have
in online transactions and encourage their greater use. These measures can
contribute to increased cross-border trade in the internal market and to
higher levels of investment, innovation and, ultimately employment in this
The Minister also informed the Committee that the Directive on the freezing
and confiscation of proceeds of crime is another key priority for the
Presidency. He pointed to the success of the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau
in targeting the proceeds of crime and expressed the hope that mutual
recognition proposals will be presented by the European Commission in the
near future dealing with mutual recognition across the EU of confiscation
orders made in individual Member States.
Passenger Name Records Directive
The Minister also highlighted the proposed Passenger Name Records Directive
(PNR) as an important commitment in the context of the fight against
terrorism and serious crime and one which is a priority for the EU. “PNR is
a tool of proven value to police and intelligence services in combating the
scourges of drug smuggling, trafficking in human beings and, of course,
terrorism, all of which pose shared threats to the EU Member States” said
the Minister. He also stressed the importance of prioritising the safety of
citizens and the need for Member States to work together to that end.
The Minister informed the Committee of the Presidency intentions in
relation to the Schengen-related dossiers and other Immigration, Visas and
Asylum matters that will be active during the Presidency; in particular, he
indicated the aim of the Presidency to complete the negotiations on the
proposed Common European Asylum System.
22 January 2013
Note for Editors:
The Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) is responsible for:
1. the interpretation and application of Union law and compliance of
Union acts with primary law, notably the choice of legal bases and
respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;
2. the interpretation and application of international law, in so far as
the European Union is affected;
3. the simplification of Union law, in particular legislative proposals
for its official codification;
4. the legal protection of Parliament's rights and prerogatives,
including its involvement in actions before the Court of Justice of the
5. Union acts which affect the Member States' legal order, namely in the
(a) civil and commercial law,
(b) company law,
(c) intellectual property law,
(d) procedural law;
6. measures concerning judicial and administrative cooperation in civil
7. environmental liability and sanctions against environmental crime;
8. ethical questions related to new technologies, applying the procedure
with associated committees with the relevant committees;
9. the Statute for Members and the Staff Regulations of the European
10. privileges and immunities as well as verification of Members'
11. the organisation and statute of the Court of Justice of the European
12. the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market.
JURI has a highly specialised role as the legal adviser of Parliament on a
certain number of horizontal questions: the legal basis of Union acts,
implementing and delegated acts, and issues concerning subsidiarity and
disputes involving Parliament.
JURI has 50 members and substitutes.
The LIBE committee is one of the most important and active committees of
the EP, both in terms of its size (it is one the largest with 118 MEPs, of
whom 60 are members and 58 substitutes) and above all in terms of its
co-legislative activities, especially since the entry into force of the
Treaty of Lisbon. Practically the whole field of JHA is now subject to
co-decision, with the exception of family law, operational police
cooperation and a few other areas.
The LIBE committee is in charge of most of the legislation and democratic
oversight for policies linked to the transformation of the European Union
in the area of freedom, security and justice. These policies are
intertwined with the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
and with the strengthening of the EU citizenship.
The LIBE Committee is responsible for:
1. the protection within the territory of the Union of citizens' rights,
human rights and fundamental rights, including the protection of
minorities, as laid down in the Treaties and in the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
2. the measures needed to combat all forms of discrimination other than
those based on sex or those occurring at the workplace and in the
3. legislation in the areas of transparency and of the protection of
natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data;
4. the establishment and development of an area of freedom, security and
justice, in particular:
(a) measures concerning the entry and movement of persons, asylum
(b) measures concerning an integrated management of the common
(c) measures relating to police and judicial cooperation in criminal
5. the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Europol, Eurojust, Cepol
and other bodies and agencies in the same area;
6. the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member
State of the principles common to the Member States.
Data Protection Regulation and Directive – these measures are aimed at
ensuring that citizens have more control over their personal data,
strengthening confidence in the digital economy and supporting the growth
of the Digital Single Market.
Aim of Presidency: The Presidency intends to hold a large number of Working
Party meetings with a view to advancing both measures as far as
The aim is to secure agreement on key aspects of the Regulation while not
neglecting the Directive.
Regulation creating a European Account Preservation Order – the general
objectives of this measure are to facilitate the recovery of cross-border
claims for citizens and businesses, in particular SMEs, and to improve the
efficiency of enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters
concerning cross-border disputes.
Aim of Presidency: The Presidency aims to reach agreement on broad
guidelines or specific elements in relation to the proposal.
Regulation dealing with insolvency – this proposed revision of the 2000
Insolvency Regulation aims to modernise the existing insolvency rules to
facilitate an EU "rescue and recovery" culture for companies and
individuals in financial difficulties. The proposal will also make
cross-border insolvency proceedings more efficient and effective.
Aim of Presidency: The Presidency initiated the discussions on this dossier
at the Informal Council on 17/18 January and will seek to advance it as far
· Implementation of the SIS II project – the second generation of the
Schengen Information System (SIS II) is scheduled to become fully
operational by end March 2013
· Schengen Governance Package – this 'package' comprises two proposals:
Ø a Regulation on an evaluation mechanism to verify application of
the Schengen acquis; and
Ø amendments to the Schengen Borders Code to provide stricter common
rules on the temporary reintroduction of internal border controls.
Aim of Presidency: The aim of the Presidency is to conclude
· Draft Council Decision on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to
the Schengen area.
Aim of Presidency: The Presidency will continue negotiations in
Council to advance agreement on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania
to the Schengen Convention.
Directive on the confiscation and recovery of criminal assets – this
proposal seeks to lay down minimum rules for Member States with respect to
freezing and confiscation of criminal assets.
Aim of Presidency: The Presidency will seek to reach an agreement on this
dossier with the European Parliament.
Package of measures on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) – there are
two remaining elements of the proposed CEAS to be finalised, the Asylum
Procedures Directive (provides for minimum standards on procedures for
granting and withdrawing refugee status) and the Eurodac Regulation
(concerns the system for comparing fingerprints of asylum seekers and some
categories of illegal immigrants).
Aim of Presidency: The Presidency will seek to reach agreement on these
dossiers with the European Parliament.
Directive on the use of Passenger Name Records data for the prevention,
detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious
crime – this proposal aims to harmonise obligations for air carriers, who
operate flights between a third country and the territory of at least one
Member State and between Member States, to transmit Passenger Name Record
data to the competent authorities.
Aim of Presidency: The Presidency will work to progress negotiations with
the European Parliament.