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Minister Stanton attends EU Justice and Home Affairs Council to discuss migration, security and counter-terrorism

  • · Migration discussions focussed on both the internal and external aspects
  • of addressing migration
  • · EU Ministers observed a minute’s silence in sympathy and solidarity with
  • the UK over last week’s Westminster attack, and expressed determination
  • and defiance against terrorism.
  • · Held bilateral meeting with EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and
  • Gender Equality, Vìra Jourová
  • · Met with Hungarian and Dutch Ministers to discuss strengthening the role
  • of the European Network on Victims Rights.

Minister of State for Justice with responsibility for Equality, Immigration
and Integration David Stanton, T.D. attended a two-day meeting of EU
Justice and Home Affairs ministers in Brussels which concluded today.
Discussions focussed on migration, security and counter-terrorism. The
meeting, held in the wake of the London terror attacks, began with
Ministers observing a minutes silence to express sympathy and solidarity
with the UK and to demonstrate the continued commitment of the Union to
stand firm together in defiance against such attacks intended to undermine
the common EU values of democracy and freedom.

Ministers discussed migration, particularly the Malta Declaration of last
month and the Valletta Joint Action Plan which set out ways to save lives
and reduce dangerous patterns of illegal migration into the EU from
outside. Minister Stanton said: “The Council must continue to work with
countries of origin and countries of departure to help address the root
causes of migration and to prevent people from setting out on perilous
journeys to Europe.”

Ministers discussed Relocation and the state of play of relocation from
Greece and Italy. Minister Stanton told the Council that Ireland is working
closely with Greece to ensure that Ireland meets its commitments for
relocations. Ireland has in place a programme to ensure that these
relocation commitments will be met by September this year. Minister Stanton
also updated colleagues on Ireland’s successful resettlement programme, in
which Ireland has met and surpassed its resettlement quota.

Commenting on the discussions, the Minister said that “the EU response to
the continued migratory flows to Europe must be multifaceted. The focus of
this Council was on returns, working with key third countries and showing
internal solidarity through relocation measures. These are all part of a
comprehensive solution to this complex issue. Equally, we need to ensure
that our asylum systems function well, we need to deter illegal flows, and
we must offer more and better opportunities for legal pathways to Europe.
Only through such a balanced approach can the EU succeed on this
challenging issue.”

Security and Counter-terrorism
Ministers discussed the continued threat of terrorism including the return
to the EU of Foreign Terrorist Fighters from conflict zones. The Council
was also updated on progress towards strengthening border security against
terrorism and crime, and measures against terrorist financing.

Ministers examined possible actions to take to address the potential issues
posed by foreign terrorist fighters returning to the EU. This included
better information sharing, working with third countries, developing risk
assessment tools, addressing the unique problems posed by different
returnees, and ensuring consistent criminal justice responses to terrorist

Meeting with Commissioner Jourová
Minister Stanton held a bilateral meeting with Commissioner for Justice,
Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourová to exchange views on a number of
the proposals arising under the Commissioners brief. Minister Stanton took
the opportunity to discuss issues arising in relation to cooperation in
justice matters between the EU and the UK following the UK exit.

European Network on Victims Rights
Minister Stanton met with his Hungarian and Dutch counterparts to discuss
plans to strengthen the role of the European Network on Victims Rights
especially in relation to the tasks performed in cross border cases.
Minister Stanton recalled that Ireland is a founding member of the project
to establish the European Network on Victims Rights and has found its
participation in the work of the Network to be very beneficial and
rewarding. Noting the potential for the Network to grow and further
strengthen co-operation between Member States in this policy area, Minister
Stanton undertook to work with his colleagues to progress the important
work of the Network.