Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

EU ministers set out cooperation priorities with eastern partners over justice and security

Particular attention should be paid to those Eastern Partnership countries that are willing to move closer to the EU in the Justice, Freedom and Security area, “which should also be reflected in the distribution of financial support”, EU ministers meeting in theJustice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels have concluded.

The Council Conclusions underlined the importance of continuing and intensifying wide-ranging structured cooperation over migration, stressing in particular that the Visa Code and Visa Facilitation Agreements with the Eastern Partnership countries allowed the EU and its Member States“to enhance mobility and people-to-people contacts.”

The Council stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation within the Eastern Partnership aimedat strengthening security, addingthat in this area special attention should be given to the fight against organized crime, trafficking of narcoticdrugs, cybercrime and trafficking in humanbeings.

The Council emphasised that in the area of justice, principles of the rule of law, including respect for fundamental rights and anindependent, impartial and effective judiciary, were “instrumental for the success of the Eastern Partnership countries’ democratic reforms and their progress towards closer association with the European Union.”

"The Council likewise underlines the importance of basing further cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries on the principles of differentiation, conditionality, policy coherence and regional cooperation. The “more for more” approach should be fully exercised, acknowledging progress on the necessary reforms made by each of the partner countries individually and matching it with a concrete cooperation agenda. Particular attention should be paid to those partners willing to take on EU acquis in the Justice, Freedom and Security area, which should also be reflected in the distribution of financial support. Strengthening the role of civil society in the area of JHA in these countries as well as enhancing regional cooperation between the Eastern Partners should be pursued. The necessary coherence should be ensured between the actions undertaken under bilateral cooperation and the Eastern Partnership multilateral track.

The Council believes that the political dimension of cooperation within the Eastern Partnership should be strengthened and that convening regular meetings at Ministerial level on JHA issues as appropriate in the interest of the cooperation will help to ensure relevant political guidance and coordination, in order to achieve progress in particular areas of work (as presently arranged e.g. with Western Balkans). The Council looks forward to the swift implementation of all concrete projects and activities presented in the Communication.

The Council reaffirms its commitment to support the prevention of and the fight against corruption in the Eastern Partnership countries. The successful implementation of anti-corruption measures would have a positive spill-over effect on non-JHA related areas of cooperation and will remain a priority.

The Council stresses that cooperation between EU agencies and the Eastern Partnership countries and their relevant authorities should be further developed, notably by promoting common training and the sharing of expertise, best practices and operational cooperation. The EU agencies should play an important role in these processes, in particular by entering into cooperation agreements on a case-by-case basis with all Eastern Partnership countries on the basis of progress achieved, and in line with the respective mandates of these agencies. Where appropriate, EU agencies should allow for participation in their activities, in line with the Warsaw declaration.

Bearing in mind the benefits of cooperation in the area of JHA within the Eastern Partnership, the Council underlines the importance of enabling continuous financial resources for further development of this cooperation. The Council encourages all stakeholders concerned to provide adequate financial resources for the implementation of prioritized activities, while at the same time increasing donor coordination."

Source of information - ENPI Info Centre

Read full document - Council conclusions

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