Press Release - Common European Asylum System and Regional Protection Programme for Syria on the agenda of JHA
24.10.2012, 09:44 (CET)
The Common European Asylum System (CEAS), the Situation in Syria and the establishment of a Regional Protection Program, the proposal for a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, the Council Conclusions on the new EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012–2016, the simplification and speeding up of procedures for the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the EU, as well as the dissuasive sanctions for market manipulation are some of the topics that will be discussed when the EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) meet on the 25th and 26th of October in Luxembourg.

On the 25th and 26th of October, Cypriot Minister of Interior Ms Eleni Mavrou and Minister of Justice and Public Order Mr Loucas Louca will chair the penultimate JHA Meeting under the Cyprus Presidency. The meeting will include the participation of EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, EU Commissioners for Justice, Ms. Viviane Reding, for Home Affairs, Ms. Cecilia Malmström and for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, while Members of the European Parliament as well as a number of EU agencies and International Organisations will also be participating.

Common European Asylum System

Significant progress has been made on the legislative proposals for the establishment of a CEAS. The Council and the European Parliament already reached agreement on the Qualification Directive and the Reception Conditions Directive, while negotiations on the recasts of the Dublin Regulation, the Eurodac Regulation and the Asylum Procedures Directive have entered their final phase. The Council is expected to adopt the Political agreement on the Reception Conditions Directive, which will confirm the agreement reached between the Council and the European Parliament. The Council is also expected to take note of the progress achieved on the legislative proposals in the field of asylum and to instruct Council’s preparatory bodies to continue work in keeping with the commitment to establish the legislative framework for a Common European Asylum System by the end of 2012.

Establishment of a Regional Protection Programme for Syria

Ministers will be called to discuss the humanitarian and refugee crisis in Syria which is a matter of deep concern for the EU. Large numbers of Syrians have been internally displaced and the numbers seeking refuge in neighbouring countries are increasing. The EU has also witnessed migratory pressures and certain Member States have already experienced a significant rise in the number of asylum applications. These developments bring into sharp focus the need for a comprehensive response on the part of the EU. The Presidency aims to explore 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 through the establishment of a Regional Protection Program (RPP). The Presidency has previously included the subject of a RPP on the agenda of the Informal JHA Council Meeting held in Nicosia in July 2012. A RPP could contribute to enhancing the capacities of the authorities and of the organisations dealing with international protection and refugee issues with a view to meeting the longer term challenges they will face and providing durable solutions to the plight of those who have been forced to leave Syria. During the Council, the Commission will present its plans for the development of a RPP. The Council is expected to invite the Commission to follow-up on that work with a view to a Regional Protection Programme being established as soon as possible.

Proposal for a Decision on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism

The initial proposal was tabled by the Commission in January 2012. The aim of the Mechanism is to replace the current legislation in this field and to improve the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of systems preventing, preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters of all kinds within and outside the Union. The proposal contributes to Europe's 2020 objectives and to increasing the security of EU citizens and building resilience to natural and man-made disasters as an important part of the Stockholm Programme and the EU Internal Security Strategy.The Council will hold an orientation debate on a proposal to establish a Union Civil Protection Mechanism on the basis of a presidency paper.

Draft Council Conclusions on the new EU Strategy against Human Trafficking

The Revised Draft Council Conclusions on the new EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012–2016 are intended to support and complement the strategy adopted by the Commission in July this year. The Council will be asked to endorse the Revised Draft Council Conclusions.

Confiscation of proceeds of crime and protection of the market

Building on the progress made so far at working party level, as well as the political will shown by the majority of Member States regarding the handling of certain aspects of this file, the Ministers of Justice will hold a debate on the proposed Direction for Freezing and Confiscation of Assets in the EU. The Cyprus Presidency is confident that from the discussion, this highly important file will progress further towards the goal of reaching a political agreement (general approach) by the end of the year.

Furthermore, the ministers will discuss the draft directive for Criminal Sanctions at EU level, for Insider Dealing and Market Manipulation, aiming at fully clarifying certain issues that have arisen in the course of the discussions at technical level, with a view to achieving an agreement in the Council in the least possible time.

Enlargement of the Schengen Area and terrorism soft targets

Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession into the Schengen Area will also be examined. Mr. Louca has expressed his disappointment that it will not be possible at this stage for the Council to take the decision on enlarging the Schengen Area with the full accession of the two countries.

“Yet, we want to reiterate that the Cyprus Presidency remains fully committed to continuing its efforts in every possible way to contribute to the successful enlargement of the Schengen Area, being in constant contact with all delegations”, the Cypriot minister pointed out. 

In addition, a number of other important issues will be addressed, including the notable developments concerning the data protection reform package as well as the reinforcement of protection of soft targets of terrorism.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Administrative Officer
Andreas Constantinou

Ministry of Interior
JHA Councils Coordinator
Telephone: +357 22867691
EU Affairs Counsellor
Elena Panayiotou

Ministry of Justice & Public Order
JHA Council & CATS Committee Coordinator
Telephone: +357 22805982
Communications Officer
Dina Kapardis

Ministry of Interior
EU Affairs Unit
Telephone: +357 22867721
Communications Officer
Lefki Solomontos

Ministry of Justice & Public Order

Telephone: +357 22805996


25.10.2012 - 26.10.2012