Priorities of the Czech EU Presidency

The Czech Presidency’s priorities in the field of strengthening the area of freedom, security and justice

The Czech Presidency will pay particular attention to the final phase of the Hague Programme (2004-2009), which forms the conceptual basis for all work carried out to cultivate the area of freedom, security and justice. It will also launch a debate on the draft of a new multiannual justice and home affairs programme covering the period from 2010 to 2014.

Utilisation of modern technology for security and their safe use

The mutual interconnection of the modern world and the level of its technological advance require corresponding instruments to resolve related security issues. Use of modern technology and information networks for the purposes of security maintenance and their safe utilisation will be the central topic of the Presidency in this particular field. Within this cross-section issue, which to a certain degree affects most of the agenda in the area of justice and internal affairs, the Presidency will continue to seek a balance between security and freedom, protection of human rights and the right to privacy. Modern technology will be the topic of several events, such as the informal council of the JHA or the conference on the combating of cyber threats.

International cooperation in the field of child protection

International child protection is a subject of lively discussion around the world, notably in connection with greater travel opportunities and the pervasiveness of the Internet and mobile telephones. Despite the various countervailing measures presently in place within the scope of Schengen and the EU (e.g. the Schengen Information System), international child protection challenges in the EU remain. The Czech Presidency will deal with various aspects of child protection (especially police cooperation, more effective use of the Schengen Information System, and prevention); particular emphasis will be placed on the application of all existing means of cooperation between EU Member States. The Czech Presidency will also stress the need for safer use of Internet for children, and will seek opportunities for a common fight against illegal content on the Internet.

Complementary and flexible migration policies

The Czech Republic will support a balanced approach covering all aspects of migration. It will strive to achieve effective, complementary and flexible EU migration policies through discussions based on reality. It wishes to promote policies which mutually complement the issues of migration and asylum with the objective of effective management of migration flows. The Czech Republic considers it necessary for the policies in this area to be able to react in a flexible manner to changes in migration realities within the EU.
In this context the Czech Republic will start the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum adopted by the European Council in October of 2008 while it will focus on the following issues: implementation of the Policy Plan on Legal Migration with simultaneous efforts to abolish the transition periods of free movement of persons; integration of foreigners including the inter-cultural dialogue with the aim of securing smooth integration of immigrants of different religions and cultures into society; combating illegal immigration with the aim of strengthening the security of EU citizens; international protection of persons within the context of the completion of a Common European Asylum System; development of a global approach to migration, where the emphasis will be placed on the countries neighbouring the EU in the east and south-east with the aim to achieve quality cooperation leading to a real partnership in migration issues.

Schengen cooperation, border protection and visa policies

In the sphere of cooperation within the Schengen area the Czech Presidency will focus on achieving material progress in the development of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) in order to reduce to a maximum degree the delay in the project while maintaining a high level of security and stability of the system. There will be evaluations if Bulgaria and Romania are ready for their accession to Schengen and reviews of the correct procedure of implementation of Schengen standards in the Benelux countries, France and Germany. The Czech Republic will also discuss a legislative proposal to establish an agency for information systems in the area of justice and home affairs.

In the sphere of visa policy the Czech Presidency will seek to achieve the greatest possible progress in the development of technical support from the Visa Information System (VIS) so that it can be launched as a real-time operation within the pilot program by June 2009. The Presidency will also thoroughly monitor the technical side of the SIS II project and the completion of the Visa Information System including biometrics. The Czech Republic will focus on the reliability of the system, a high level of effectiveness, security and user friendliness. The Czech Republic will seek to achieve a speedy discussion and adoption of the Common Consular Instructions and the completion of the work on the Visa Code.

Drug policy

During the Czech Presidency, the implementation process of the new EU Action Plan on Drugs 2009-2012 will start. The ten-year period of compliance with the conclusions of the 20th Special Session of the UNGA (UNGASS) will also be assessed. The Czech Presidency also plans to pay attention to the issues of amphetamine production and use, as well as the links between the free movement of persons and drugs.

Combating terrorism and organised crime

The Czech Republic will seek mutual cooperation in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. The radicalisation and recruitment of new members of terrorist groups remain the fundamental problem. The Czech Presidency will focus on strengthening the cooperation with its partners in Western Balkans. The Czech Republic will also continue the second round of evaluations of Member States in the field of preparedness and capability to react to terrorist attacks. It will also coordinate an implementation of the Action Plan to ensure safety of explosives.

An important challenge in the field of organised crime is the fight against human trafficking. The Presidency will follow up on the existing activities of the EU Member States and the Commission in the preparation of mechanisms for data collection and analysis of the current situation in the field of human trafficking, as well as of the trends in the prevention of such trafficking and in care programs for the victims of this type of crime.

Judicial cooperation

The Czech Presidency will encourage the development of e-Justice. This broad concept, relating to the use of modern information technology in the field of justice, should interconnect individual registers (crime registers, insolvency registers, and registers of wills), draw on videoconferencing and set up a European Justice Portal. It is also important to develop judicial cooperation with third countries and address the issue of appropriate instruments for the protection of children in the EU.

In addition, the Czech Republic will focus on a new method for the exchange of information from criminal records concerning nationals of third countries convicted in the EU. The Czech Republic will promote the further development and consolidation of a pilot project for the electronic interconnection of national crime registers, which currently includes 12 Member States. In the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters, the Czech Republic intends to undertake an initiative to handle conflicts of jurisdictions in criminal proceedings.
The Czech Presidency is keen to improve judicial cooperation in civil matters in order to reach greater legal certainty for citizens of Member States moving within the EU. The Czech Republic will deal in particular with the proposal for a regulation on succession and wills. The proposal for the maintenance regulation is set to be finalised too. The Czech Presidency will also strive to conclude discussions concerning a review of the Decision establishing the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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