Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Communication from European Commission on Cooperation in the Area of Justice and Home Affairs within the Eastern Partnership

The European Commission has put forward a set of proposals to firm up the existing framework for dialogue and cooperation with its Eastern Partners in the field of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), including work on thematic priorities. A Commission Communication said, “Continuous, trust-based cooperation within the Eastern Partnership, both at the strategic and operational levels, is essential for increasing mobility and promoting people-to-people contacts while addressing the challenges and threats that do not respect borders – such as terrorism, organised crime, corruption and trafficking in human beings.”

In order to enhance further the level of political and operational cooperation “towards the establishment of a Common JHA Space between the EU and its Eastern Partners,” the Commission proposed to:

- consolidate the existing frameworks for dialogue and cooperation;

- analyse the progress made so far and propose ways of further strengthening of cooperation, including its thematic priorities (Migration, mobility and asylum; Integrated border management; Public order and security; Tackling illicit drugs; Justice and fundamental rights).

The proposals introduce four principle of cooperation with the Eastern partners in the JHA area:

  1. Differentiation between partner countries depending on their progress in JHA reforms;
  2. Conditionality (correlation with success of partner countries in agreed areas of cooperation);
  3. Coherence with other relevant EU policies;
  4. Focus on regional cooperation, which is crucial for responding to cross-border challenges in the JHA area.

Dialogue, support and engagement with civil society is important for people-to-people contacts and increased mobility and should therefore feature prominently in the cooperation on JHA areas, the Communication said, adding that such cooperation would help the EU neighbours “to anchor the essential values and principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”

''The vision of the Eastern Partnership is that of a common space based on freedom, democracy, rule of law and justice. A space where political co-operation is as close, economic integration is as deep and people-to-people contacts are as intense as possible,“ said European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.

The Commission’s proposals are complementary to its earlier recommendation to open negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission with Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the recent reports on the implementation by Moldova and Ukraine of their respective Action Plans on Visa Liberalisation.

PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS On Cooperation in the Area of Justice and Home Affairs within the Eastern Partnership"

Project funded by the European UnionEU