Press Release - EU Ministers discussed priorities in Immigration and Asylum and Cybercrime
23.07.2012, 17:58 (CET)
EU Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs discussed the topics of immigration, asylum and cybercrime when they met for the Informal Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting on July 23 in Lefkosia (Nicosia).

EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, Members of the European Parliament as well as a number of EU agencies and International Organisations attended the Informal Council meeting on 23 July in Nicosia. The meeting was chaired by Cypriot Minister of Interior Ms Eleni Mavrou.

During the meeting, EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers exchanged views on what they believe to be the future priorities in immigration and asylum in light of the findings of the Commission’s Third Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2011). Given the current economic crisis, ministers also looked at ways in which the EU can better utilise the positive contributions of migration and mobility to contribute to the Union’s growth agenda and to ensure an effective integration policy. They also looked at ways that the EU can optimise the link between migration and development in its relations with third countries, with a view to better managing migration flows and preventing and combating illegal immigration.

During the course of discussions, ministers determined the need for legal migration policies to be based on the needs of the labour market and concluded that selective and targeted migration can, in particular by attracting highly qualified workers, contribute to economic growth. They also discussed the importance of integration measures in maximising the potential of third country nationals legally residing in the EU as well as the need for more effective measures to manage mixed migration flows.

Minister of Interior, Mrs Eleni Mavrou said: “Today’s discussions revealed that despite the ongoing economic crisis, the EU recognises the significance of continuing to build a well-balanced migration policy that provides a meaningful contribution to the Union’s growth agenda. Effective measures for integration should also form part of this as well as a comprehensive approach on providing international protection and ensuring solidarity between EU member states.”

Preparing to help Syrian refugees

Over the course of lunch, ministers discussed the humanitarian and refugee crisis in the neighbouring regions to Syria following presentations by the UNHCR, IOM and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). The discussion focused on how to strengthen international protection in these regions. Ministers supported the idea of a Regional Protection Program in the areas to host the majority of those fleeing the political and civil conflict in Syria. Ministers also shared views and practices in a discussion on the approach of the member states regarding displaced persons already in their territory including an increase of funds to support the agencies working in the area. They also explored ways in which the EU and its member states can best contribute to assisting the countries neighbouring Syria in their efforts to deal with persons displaced by the conflict there and how the EASO could participate in the future to better prepare the adoption of solidarity measures where necessary.

Strategy for tackling Cybercrime

Given the heights that cybercrime has escalated to, the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs discussed the huge challenge facing the EU and the whole of mankind, exploring ways it can be tackled more effectively. Through three key and targeted questions, the Ministers exchanged views on:

  • national strategies against cybercrime
  • the three major challenges in the fight against cybercrime in the coming years
  • the ways in which the EU can contribute to an effective response to cybercrime

The discussion revealed that very few member states have a national cybercrime strategy.  This fact further highlights the necessity of developing both a European cybersecurity strategy, which is already under development, as well as national strategies.

Moreover, the ministers agreed that cybercrime yields huge profits, which places a further burden on the difficult economic situation.  Therefore, taking immediate action can best contribute to the improvement of the economy, even though some of the measures imply certain costs. 

The Ministers also looked at ways of overcoming procedural barriers in undercover investigations and interrogation, the enhancement of cooperation with counterparts outside the EU and the provision of more technological tools and staff to law enforcement authorities. 

Lastly, during the meeting, the EU Counter–terrorism coordinator, Mr Gilles de Kerchove, presented the subject of Security Industrial Policy and Security Related Research, looking at how technology can contribute towards combating terrorism and serious crime.

EU Affairs Counsellor
Elena Panayiotou

Ministry of Justice & Public Order
JHA Council & CATS Committee Coordinator
Telephone: +357 22805982
Administrative Officer
Loizos Hadjivasiliou

Ministry of Justice and Public Order
National Delegate/COSI
Telephone: +357 22805979
Administrative Officer
Andreas Constantinou

Ministry of Interior
JHA Councils Coordinator
Telephone: +357 22867691
Communications Officer
Lefki Solomontos

Ministry of Justice & Public Order

Telephone: +357 22805996
Communications Officer
Dina Kapardis

Ministry of Interior
EU Affairs Unit
Telephone: +357 22867721

Watch the press conference here 

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