Minister McEntee attends the virtual informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers hosted by the Portuguese Presidency
The first meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers of the Portuguese EU Presidency.
Discussions on possible reforms to the Schengen area, the future of Europol and how to better protect property rights.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD represented Ireland at the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers held in virtual format on the 28th and 29th of January 2021. This was the first meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers of the Portuguese EU Presidency, which began on 1st January 2021.
Attending the meeting, Minister McEntee said:
“I am delighted to attend the first meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers hosted by Portugal since they have taken over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. While the COVID19 pandemic has not allowed us to meet in person, the Presidency ensured that the agenda for the virtual meeting covered a number of key issues”
Speaking on the topic of a Migration and Asylum renewed European Policy – the way forward, the Minister said:
“It is clear that the Portuguese Presidency has picked up where the German Presidency left off in relation to the work on the Commission’s Pact on Migration and Asylum, and this is welcome. We fully support EU efforts to deal with the migration issue in a comprehensive and holistic way. The EU is based on the foundation of solidarity and any future mechanisms introduced to improve our migration and asylum policies should reflect this.”
Welcoming the discussion on the future of Europol, the Minister said:
“Serious crime does not stop at the borders of Europe and Member States must remain committed to ensuring that we are prepared to tackle this as best we can. Europol is an integral part of Europe’s security architecture and is key in cooperation across our law enforcement agencies in our fight against cross border crime. I very much welcome all efforts to strengthen the mandate of Europol and it was clear from the discussions this week that this is a sentiment shared by my European counterparts.
Commenting on the discussion on E-Justice, the Minister said:
“The topic of E-justice is timely as the COVID19 pandemic has shown us that we need to modernise our means of judicial cooperation between Member States. Ensuring that there are effective ways to quickly and safely exchange cross border information is something that will link in with many of the current and future EU measures in the area of judicial cooperation. I welcome the discussions at the informal Council and look forward to working with my European counterparts to further build on initiatives already in place.”
Other issues on the agenda at the informal meeting included a discussion on possible reforms to the Schengen area, the future of Europol, the need for better protection of vulnerable adults across Europe and, how to better protect property rights.