Ministers adopted conclusions on victims’ rights, following the discussions which took place at the JHA Council in October. The conclusions take stock of the comprehensive EU framework developed in this area, covering legislative and non-legislative instruments as well as cooperation at operational level. Their objective is to improve the effectiveness and implementation of the framework, and to identify concrete actions and initiatives to be taken to improve it further.
Digitalisation of judicial cooperation
The Council adopted its negotiating position (general approach) on two amended regulations, one on the taking of evidence and a second on the service of documents. The Council Presidency will now start negotiations with the European Parliament on the basis of these mandates.
The draft regulations provide for the modernisation of judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters in the taking of evidence and service of documents. The draft amendments improve the efficiency and speed of cross-border judicial proceedings by taking advantage of digitalisation and the use of modern technology, and using these to improve access to justice and guarantee a fair trial for all parties.
Ministers took note of the final report of the 8th round of mutual evaluations in the field of criminal matters, which focused on the topic of environmental crime. They also took account of a Presidency report on EU environmental criminal law.
The 8th round of mutual evaluations focused on two forms of criminal activities which raise significant challenges due to their risks for human health and the environment: the illegal trafficking of waste and the illegal production or handling of dangerous materials. The report underlines, among other things, the low detection rate of environmental crime and includes recommendations aiming at improving the situation regarding the fight against environmental crime.
Future of EU migration and asylum policy
Ministers discussed the future of the EU migration and asylum policy, on the basis of a report prepared by the Finnish Presidency. During the debate, ministers welcomed the Commission’s intention to present a new pact on migration and asylum. They confirmed the need for a comprehensive approach to migration, with a whole-of-government and whole of route approach.
Future of internal security
Ministers discussed the future of EU internal security, with a view to providing guidance for future developments in the area of internal security during the next legislative cycle (2019-2024). This discussion took place over lunch, on the basis of a report prepared by the Finnish Presidency, which summarises the main themes and work strands that have been discussed in the past six months as part of this reflection process.