Preserving security in Europe

Today the Home Affairs Council adopted comprehensive conclusions on strengthening internal security and establishing a European police partnership. Following the terrorist attacks in Dresden, Nice, Paris and Vienna, the home affairs ministers issued a joint statement on the fight against terrorism at an extraordinary Council meeting in November 2020. Building on this, the European Commission then presented its new agenda for fighting terrorism and strengthening Europol last week. The primary goal of European cooperation is better sharing of information, with closer links between security authorities.

Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer said:

Europe is a place of freedom, security and justice for people. If it is to remain so, we must have the ability to effectively combat criminals, extremists and terrorists. This means that our security authorities need to keep pace technologically. Our police forces must be able to access all available resources and information for fighting crime and terrorism, across internal borders. This also includes making use of artificial intelligence and approaching encryption without ideological blinkers. We need to adapt our authorities to the digital era; to this end, today we have agreed numerous measures for the coming years.

Humane and orderly migration

The home affairs ministers also discussed the progress made in the negotiations on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The European Commission presented this reform package in late September; now, the home affairs ministers have reinvigorated the discussion of the matter. The progress report demonstrates exactly where agreement has been reached and where work still lies ahead. The main pillars of the future European asylum and migration policy are greater cooperation with third countries, the establishment of legal pathways of migration, effective protection of the external borders, consistent return policy, and reliable solidarity with the member states on the EU’s external borders.

Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer said:

Migration will decide Europe’s fate. No country in the world can manage this challenge alone. Following the very good discussions of the past two months, we are leaving the Portuguese Presidency with a solid foundation that they can build upon. Many technical points remain to be resolved, but we have already achieved agreement on many key elements of migration policy.

Achievements that are evident

In the area of home affairs, the German Council Presidency will have implemented 54 of its 60 projects by the end of the year. For the other six projects, the member states are far enough along in their political negotiations that they can continue these negotiations under the leadership of Minister of Internal Affairs Eduardo Cabrita during the Portuguese Council Presidency.

Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer said:

This Council Presidency will go down in history. Never before have important political negotiations been conducted solely by video conference due to a global pandemic. Despite these difficult circumstances, we were able to complete almost 90 per cent of our projects by the end of the year. This is a tremendous success and one which the member states could only achieve together. Thank you very much to all the participants, who are fighting for Europe with courage and confidence.