The Hungarian Presidency hopes to give an impetus to the fight against organised crime. This was one of the topics at the meeting of EU Interior Ministers on 20 January 2011 in Gödöllő, a city near Budapest. The informal meeting confronted views about the border administration and the budgetary status of internal activities.
The Hungarian Presidency hopes to give an impetus to the fight against organised crime. This was one of the topics at the meeting of EU Interior Ministers on 20 January 2011 in Gödöllő, a city near Budapest. The informal meeting confronted views about the budgetary status of border administration and internal activities.
The reinforcement of the fight against organised crime and integrated border administration were the topics on the first day of the two-day informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council. During the business lunch, the Ministers discussed the share of internal expenses in the EU’s post-2014 multiannual budget.
The Hungarian Presidency asked member states about the new tendencies they experienced in organised crime, the ways to weaken the financial basis of crime and to make the recovery of stolen assets more efficient, and about the desirable form of cooperation in the fight against organised crime. Since 2000, the EU has had a strategy to combat organised crime, but the Hungarian Presidency thinks the issue should be revisited.
A need for an imaginative and integrated approach
Several Ministers stressed the need for an imaginative, rather than conventional, and integrated approach. They noted that organised crime is penetrating the legal profession to legalize assets earned by unlawful means.
Some of the member states considers organised crime as risky as terrorism. There was much talk on cybercrime, if with various perceptions. Some Ministers think this form of crime is only new in terms of its techniques, while others think that Internet crimes are not only committed by individuals but also by countries.
According to the Ministers, there is no need for new laws but for the existing ones to reinforce cooperation in the fight against crime.
The Hungarian Presidency wishes to keep on the agenda the reinforcement of the fight against organised crime. The topic is at the heart of the Hungarian Presidency’s internal policy programme. Budapest hopes that a comprehensive document will be prepared, including the main points of the fight against organised crime, by the June informal meeting of Justice and Interior Ministers.
Informal ministerial meetings do not consist of decision making but an exchange of views, and may prepare the ground for some important documents in the future.
Regarding the internal policy chapter of the EU’s next long-term budget, the Hungarian Presidency asked the Ministers which internal areas they thought received insufficient EU budget funding, if there was a need to increase internal expenses, if disbursement rules should be simplified, and about the ways to finance the external, international dimension of internal activities.
The reason is that internal expenditures account for less than 1 percent of the EU’s budget, while internal activities are gaining momentum. The multiannual EU budget system is just too rigid for unexpected needs, such as disasters. Another problem is that foreign cooperation aimed at internal security is only eligible for a symbolic amount of the EU’s budget.
Hungarian-German negotiation on Schengen
In the break of the meeting, Sándor Pintér, Minister of the Interior, had a bilateral discussion with his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere. Mr Pintér told that they had discussed the Hungarian Media Act and the enlargement of the Schengen Area. “I hope to have convinced the German Minister that the Hungarian Media Act can stand up to EU requirements”, said Mr Pintér.
As for the Schengen Area, the German Minister told journalists before the meeting that Germany has set out not only technical but also political requirements for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen Area. The Minister repeated the German and French position that the two countries may only join the Schengen Area if they eliminate corruption and reform their judicial systems. After the Hungarian-German negotiation, Mr Pintér said they will revisit the issue during the Hungarian Presidency’s term.
Before the Council meeting, the German Minister of the Interior announced that Germany will immediately stop deporting some refugees back to Greece, since their refugee rights are not respected there.
The security of Europe’s borderlines
At the meeting in Gödöllő, the ministers also discussed the security of borderlines in the presence of Frontex, the EU agency responsible for border security. Participants and Commission representative Cecilia Malmström acknowledged the potential importance of border security from the perspective of Europe’s security, and welcomed the Hungarian Presidency’s choice of subject. Several participants stressed the significance of cooperation with third countries in the field of integrated border administration.
It was repeatedly remarked that opportunities, offered by modern technology, including the introduction of automated systems, were inevitable and exciting potentials in the field of border control, though many commented that we had to conform to existing demands. It was also pointed out that an appropriate and efficient management was necessary for the Schengen System. Member states supported the European Commission’s new proposal on the reform of the Schengen evaluation mechanism.
Péter Györkös is Hungary’s Permanent Representative to the European Union. Diplomats carry their duties wherever they are ordered by his superior officers, but Péter Györkös has a “personal attachment” to his present assignment: for more than twenty years, he has been monitoring closely the process of European unification and has actively worked for it in his successive positions.
Under the item of internal security, home affairs ministers will discuss the current trends and main challenges of organised crime as well as how to further enhance practical cooperation in order to fight more effectively against organised crime.
- Organised crime
- Integreted border management
- EU Citizenship
- Effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights
- Judicial training
WARNING FOR THE MEDIA! THE ATTACHED PROGRAMME MAY CHANGE UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF THE EVENT.
Under the item of internal security, home affairs ministers will discuss the current trends and main challenges of organised crime as well as how to further enhance practical cooperation in order to fight more effectively against organised crime. As regards border security they will have a debate on the integrated border management, the use of modern technologies and the proposed new Schengen evaluation mechanism. During the working lunch Multi-Annual Financial Framework including the funding in the area of home affairs will be on the agenda. Each semester, the incoming Presidency organises the informal meeting of JHA ministers. Traditionally on the first day the Ministers of Interior, while the second day, the Ministers of Justice are involved.