Justice (Monday 7 June)
Combating illegal online content
Ministers held a debate on how to combat illegal content online in the context of the Digital Services Act proposal.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right which must be protected. At the same time it is clear we cannot allow illegal content to proliferate on the internet platforms without control. Finding the right approach to balance these important principles will be key to the success of the digital services act, and today justice ministers reiterated their wish to continue being involved in these discussions.
Francisca Van Dunem, Portuguese minister of justice
The debate mainly focused on the aspects related to orders to providers from national authorities to act against illegal content or to provide information, as well as the obligation of large providers to notify suspicions of serious criminal offences to authorities.
During their debate, ministers highlighted the importance of freedom of expression and the need to ensure that the right balance is found to ensure that any restrictions remain the exception.
On the aspects related to orders from national authorities, ministers generally expressed support for the system proposed but noted that the text needs to be further clarified, in particular to ensure that the digital service act will not affect the functioning of existing and future JHA instruments.
On the obligation of providers to notify suspicions of serious criminal offences, ministers considered the need to clarify the notions of "serious criminal offence involving a threat to life or safety of persons" and "promptly"
Key elements for public prosecution services
Ministers exchanged views on key elements for public prosecution services. This topic is part of a dialogue on justice-specific topics concerning the rule of law.
During their discussions they focused on three topics: the independence of public prosecution services from the executive, the digitalisation of justice and adequate human and financial resources.
Assignments of claims
The Council today approved its general approach on the proposal for a regulation on the law applicable to the third-party effects of assignments of claims. The draft regulation aims to ensure greater legal certainty for businesses and citizens when it comes to cross-border transfers of claims, thereby facilitating access to finance and promoting cross-border investment in the EU.
By adopting uniform conflict-of-laws rules at EU level, the proposed regulation will eliminate legal risks and potential systemic consequences of cross-border transactions in claims, enabling cross-border investment, access to cheaper credit and further market integration. This will contribute to increasing legal certainty throughout the EU.
The Council approved a general approach on the regulation on the e-CODEX system, which aims to improve the efficiency of cross-border communication between the competent judicial authorities and facilitate access to justice for citizens and businesses.
Fundamental rights agency
It also approved a general approach on the regulation amending the regulation establishing the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. This text aims to enhance the agency's mandate and improve its functioning through more efficient procedures.
Fighting organised crime and trafficking in human beings
Under any other business, the European Commission presented the strategy on tackling organised crime and the strategy on combatting trafficking in human beings, which were adopted in April 2021.
Agenda highlights - Home affairs (Tuesday 8 June)
Fight against crime and terrorism
Home affairs ministers will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on fighting crime. They will also exchange views on the internal security outlook in terms of artificial intelligence. The Counter-Terrorism Group will provide its regular update on cooperation between authorities dealing with counter-terrorism.
Ministers will also take stock of progress in the discussions on the regulation amending Europol.
What would we do without critical entities?
Resilience of critical entities
The Council will take stock of progress in the discussions on the proposal to enhance the resilience of critical entities providing essential services in the EU.
The proposed new rules aim to ensure that critical infrastructures in EU countries are able to prevent and recover from disruptive incidents caused by natural hazards, accidents, terrorism, insider threats or public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic that the world is currently facing.
Migration and asylum
Ministers will also assess the state of play regarding the new pact on migration and asylum.
Infographic - EU-wide IT systems for security and migration
Ministers will have an initial discussion on the Schengen strategy, which is expected to be presented by the European Commission next week.
The Commission will also inform ministers of the state of play in the implementation of interoperability and, in particular, the setting up of the entry/exit system and the European travel information and authorisation system, which are expected to be operational by the end of 2022.
-7-8 June 2021