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Press Release – JHA Council moves Common European Asylum System one step closer to realisation
25.10.2012, 20:36 (CET)
The Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) achieved progress in several legislative proposals for the establishment of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), as it adopted today, October 25, a Political Agreement on the Reception Conditions Directive. During the Council, which was co-chaired by Cyprus’ Ministers of Interior, Mrs Eleni Mavrou and of Justice and Public Order, Mr. Loucas Louca, ministers discussed recent developments in Syria, while they also had an orientation debate concerning a proposal for an improved system of prevention, protection and response to natural or man-made disasters. Council Conclusions were also endorsed concerning a new EU strategy to combat human trafficking.

During the JHA Council in Luxembourg, EU Justice and Interior Ministers were joined by European Commissioners, Ms Cecilia Malmström, responsible for Home Affairs, and Ms Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

Common European Asylum System moves a step closer

The JHA Council reached a Political Agreement on the Reception Conditions Directive, which marks an important development in the efforts to establish a CEAS.

The Council took note of the progress achieved on the legislative proposals in the field of asylum and to instructed the 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.

 “Discussions between representatives of the European Parliament, the Commission and the Cyprus Presidency are progressing well. As a result, compromises have been found on many provisions while, at the same time, it has become clear on which issues further discussion will be required so that an agreement will be reached,” Said Mrs Mavrou.

Syria

Ministers also discussed the pressing humanitarian and refugee crisis in Syria, while the Commission updated the JHA Council on the developments for the establishment of a Regional Protection Program in response to the Syrian crisis.

Commenting on the situation in Syria, the Cypriot Interior Minister said that “the deteriorating humanitarian situation within Syria itself and the increasing burden being placed on neighbouring countries hosting those fleeing Syria is a matter of particular concern for us all.”

Migratory pressures on the EU are also increasing and some Member States have already experienced a significant rise in the number of asylum applications. The Council welcomed the progress being made towards the establishment of a Regional Protection Program (RPP) in the region, as part of the longer term response to the needs of refugees in the region, and invited the Commission to follow-up on that work as soon as possible. 

Improving systems for addressing disasters

A public orientation debate was also held during the JHA Council, concerning the proposal for the establishment of a Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The new proposal aims 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 Presidency would like to make as much progress as possible on this file. Today we have demonstrated our willingness to continue working hard with a view to reaching an agreement as soon as possible,” said Mrs Mavrou.

EU strategy for eradicating human trafficking

During the JHA Council meeting, ministers also endorsed the Revised Draft Council Conclusions for the new EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012–2016. The new strategy is intended to support and complement the strategy adopted by the Commission in July this year.

Post-visa liberalisation monitoring for the Western Balkan countries

In the margin of the Council meeting, the Mixed Committee (the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) discussed the Commission’s third report on the post-visa liberalisation monitoring for the Western Balkan CountriesThe Council and the European Parliament are currently negotiating amendments to the rules governing the EU’s visa free regime.

“The Presidency invites our partners from the Western Balkans to take all necessary measures against the abuse of this privilege to ensure its unrestricted continuation,” said Mrs Mavrou, while stressing the importance which the Cyprus Presidency attributed to the EU visa liberalisation policy for all citizens of the Western Balkans.

National Greek action plan for asylum reform and migration management

The Council was informed on developments regarding the implementation of the Greek National Action Plan on asylum reform and migration management. Commissioner Malmström informed the Council about her recent visit to Evros and Athens and further input for the discussion was provided by the Greek Minister of Public Order and Citizen protection, Mr Dendias and the Executive Directors of Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Email: nchristodoulides@mfa.gov.cy
Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Administrative Officer
Andreas Constantinou

Ministry of Interior
JHA Councils Coordinator
Email: aconstantinou@moi.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22867691
Communications Officer
Dina Kapardis

Ministry of Interior
EU Affairs Unit
Email: ckapardis@moi.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22867721

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