Minister Flanagan discussed Crime, Terrorism and Inclusion at the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council
Data Retention, Terrorism, Migration, e-Evidence among agenda items
Minister calls for EU LGBTI+ Strategy
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D., represented Ireland at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings in Brussels with his EU counterparts on the 6th and 7th of December, 2018.
Today (Friday) Justice Ministers discussed a range of important issues including data retention, mutual recognition in criminal matters and EU accession to the European Court of Human Rights.
On Data Retention, the Minister said:
“As a number of EU Member States, including Ireland, are concerned about the current uncertainty about EU Data Retention rules, today’s debate was timely. Ministers urged the EU Commission to continue its in-depth analysis of the issues and to identify options to ensure our national data retention laws support our efforts to tackle serious crime while upholding the principles of necessity and proportionality.”
The digital world was also a focus in the discussion on e-Evidence, an issue of particular interest to Ireland given the number of global digital firms based here. Ministers agreed a new mechanism to allow law enforcement authorities to access e-Evidence which may be stored in other EU Member States.
Minister Flanagan said:
“Ireland has a vibrant digital economy and we are anxious to ensure that new measures aid effective law enforcement, are workable and provide legal certainty to companies. The proposal agreed today strikes the right balance between allowing law enforcement agencies to access e-Evidence while protecting the privacy rights of individuals.”
Yesterday, Minister Flanagan attended the Home Affairs Council where terrorist content online and migration were high on the agenda.
The Minister supported the new EU legislative proposal aimed at preventing the spread of terrorist content online. He said:
“The use by terrorists of the internet to spread their vile propaganda means it has the potential to reach further than ever before. There are no borders in the online world and our citizens need a modern day response to keep them safe online. The proposed Regulation is a positive step in achieving that for our citizens.”
Minister Flanagan will represent Ireland at the UN conference on migration in Marrakech which will consider and adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration on 10-11 December. The topic of migration was also on the agenda at the Justice and Home Affairs Council.
Minister Flanagan said:
“Migration has been high on the EU agenda for some time but it is clear that a global response is needed. That is why today’s discussion was a valuable complement to the forthcoming UN summit.
“I look forward to representing Ireland in Marrakech next week and I am pleased that the Commission has provided a new impetus for progressing outstanding EU-wide reforms this week.”
Referring to his bilateral meeting with the Greek Minister for Migration, Dimitris Vitsas, Minister Flanagan said:
“While multilateral solutions are critical, Member States must also demonstrate solidarity with each other and play their part. Having discussed the matter with Minister Zappone, I was in a position to inform my Greek colleague that Ireland can welcome up to 36 unaccompanied minors, currently seeking asylum in Greece, to our shores in 2019. We have been working with Greece for some time to bring international protection applicants to Ireland as part of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. Caring for unaccompanied minors is a particular challenge for authorities and I hope and expect that other EU Member States will follow our example and do what they can to help vulnerable migrant children.”
The Minister concluded:
“Finally, I was delighted to join a number of my EU colleagues in signing a proposal brought forward by Malta to support the work of the EU Commission in the List of Actions to Advance equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people. It is a sad fact that LGBTI+ individuals continue to suffer from widespread discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes. We must work together to ensure a coordinated response to these most serious issues.
“Following the publication of Ireland’s LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy – the world’s first – the next step will be the publication of our National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy in 2019. My colleague David Stanton, T.D., Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, is currently working hard to progress this important initiative.”