Press Release – Political Agreement on Dublin Regulation
06.12.2012, 19:17 (CET)
The Justice and Home Affairs Council confirmed today, during its first day of the meeting, the Political Agreement on the Dublin Regulation. Cyprus’ Minister of Interior, Ms Eleni Mavrou, and Cyprus’ Minister of Justice and Public Order, Mr. Loucas Louca, presided over the day’s discussions.

A milestone was achieved today when Ministers at the JHA Ministerial Council confirmed the Political Agreement on the Dublin Regulation and instructed the Council’s preparatory bodies to continue work on the asylum proposals which are still under negotiation between the Council and the European Parliament. During the morning session of today’s JHA Council, Ministers were informed on the state of play of legislative proposals for the establishment of the Common European Asylum System and discussed the progress achieved with the legislative proposals. The Council took note of the progress achieved so far and directed its preparatory bodies to continue their work. On the subject of the CEAS, Cyprus Minister of Interior Ms Eleni Mavrou stated that “The Cyprus presidency set the completion of the CEAS as a priority, and I would like to express great satisfaction with the progress made. We need to maintain the momentum that exists at this time so as to continue to work towards its completion the soonest. It is a difficult task but I reiterate that the presidency will do its utmost to ensure agreement before the end of the year.” The Council’s confirmation of the political agreement on the Dublin Regulation, reflects the outcome of tough negotiations between the Council and Parliament.

Commissioner of Home Affairs of the EU, Ms Cecilia Malmström, thanked and congratulated the Cyprus Presidency for a successful cooperation and, when asked at the Press Conference to give her evaluation of the progress of the CEAS, replied that she was thrilled with the steps that were taken in the last six months.

Stockholm Program Review

The European Council adopted the Stockholm Program and its general political directions and priorities in 2009. The European Council also called for a mid-term review for the evaluation of the Stockholm Programme to be conducted during 2012. Responding to this need, the Cyprus Presidency presented its contribution on the evaluation of the implementation of the Program at today’s JHA Council. In the discussion that followed, views were exchanged on the progress made and areas that require further priority were defined. The Presidency will inform the European Council on the results of the discussion on this issue. “The Stockholm Programme has been and continues to be an extremely useful guideline for our work within Justice and Home Affairs. We are convinced that the results of the mid-term review will help both incoming Presidencies and the Commission to assess the direction which the issues will take in the future” added Minister Eleni Mavrou.

Syria in focus

The Council was also briefed on the letter sent to the Presidency, from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Antonio Guterres, about the ongoing crisis in Syria. “During our Presidency, the Council has discussed this issue in a number of cases. Unfortunately, the situation continues to be very difficult. We agreed that it is important to continue to monitor developments and to continue our efforts at a European and national level, including work on the establishment of a Regional Protection Programme as discussed in the previous Council in October” , stated Minister Eleni Mavrou.

Visa Policy

During the working lunch Ministers exchanged views on the issue of visa policy. The discussion took place in the light of the Commission’s Communication on the implementation and development of the common visa policy to spur growth in the EU  , the Commission’s Report on the functioning of Local Schengen Cooperation during the first two years of implementation of the Visa Code and the Commission’s 7th Report on certain third countries' maintenance of visa requirements in breach of the principle of reciprocity. Minister Eleni Mavrou summarized the discussion in the following statement: “We exchanged views on possible procedural harmonisation to eliminate unjustified administrative hurdles, while at the same time continuing to ensure security of the external borders and preventing irregular immigration. We have also reflected on whether future facilitation and visa-free regimes should take economic factors more into account, by reflecting for example on how visa policy can contribute to increased tourism flows and finally we explored the possibility for an increased consular cooperation for visa issuing.”

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Communications Officer
Dina Kapardis

Ministry of Interior
EU Affairs Unit
Telephone: +357 22867721

Watch the press conference here

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06.12.2012 - 07.12.2012