Minister Flanagan attends JHA Council meeting in Brussels focussed on migration and the fight against terrorism

  • Ministers stand in solidarity with Spain and Finland after summer attacks and focus discussions on the next priority areas for the ongoing work in the fight against terrorism;
  • Ministers assess migration situation and commit to working more closely with partner countries to tackle people smuggling;
  • Minister Flanagan holds bilateral meeting with U.K. Minister, emphasised value of EU justice & security cooperation

14 September 2017

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan T.D. is in Brussels today (Thursday) for a gathering of the EU JHA Council to agree the next set of priorities in the EU's ongoing fight against terrorism. Ministers also assessed the migration situation and set out the future direction to be taken to better manage migration flows and strengthen cooperation with partner countries to tackle people smuggling and provide legal pathways into EU countries.

At the Council meeting the Minister expressed condolences to his Spanish and Finnish counterparts over the recent terrorist attacks in their countries

Commenting on the attacks, he said:

"The recent terrorist attacks in Spain and Finland were unspeakable acts of evil attacking the freedoms and values that we in the European Union cherish. My thoughts are with the victims and their families and Ireland utterly condemns these acts and those who committed them. Ireland is committed to working with our partners to further implement any counter-terrorism actions we can take to ensure those who seek to undermine our freedoms do not get the opportunity."

Following updates from Ministers and the EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator on the most recent attacks Ministers agreed by that countering radicalisation must remain a strong focus for the EU. Minister Flanagan particularly welcomed the recent establishment of the EU's High Level Expert Group on Radicalisation and the focus it will bring to having a cross-sectoral and co-ordinated approach to tackling radicalisation. Ireland is represented on the group by a senior official from the Department of Justice and Equality.

Today's Council meeting agreed that enhancing information sharing between Member States and making the best use of the available EU resources remains a key priority for Ministers. Minister Flanagan noted that "Like many other Member States, Ireland is committed to making the best use of databases and modern IT-solutions, which allow for the rapid exchange of information through appropriate channels and will ensure the fight against terrorism and organised crime is more efficient. We can also learn from each other and share good practice in how we tackle these grave challenges domestically. The core goal of all Member States is to ensure the safety and security of our citizens."

During discussions on migration Ministers received updates on a number of EU initiatives intended to reform the Common European Asylum System and actions taken to better manage migration flows. Commenting on the fact that the EU is dealing with mixed migration flows (i.e. both asylum seekers and economic migrants), Minister Flanagan stressed the need to identify better solutions to eliminate dangerous journeys where migrants frequently fall victim to ruthless people-smugglers, stating:

"We must find more effective ways to remove the initiative from the people smugglers through in-country supports, direct investment, resettlement programmes for those most vulnerable and other legal pathways for regular migration which can offer hope where currently there is only desperation."

At his first JHA Council Minister Flanagan also held bilateral meetings with the UK Minister of State for Immigration, Brandon Lewis, and Estonian Interior Minister and current JHA Council chair, Andres Anvelt. Minister Flanagan stated:

"I was pleased to have the opportunity to underline to Minister Lewis the value that Ireland places on the EU justice and security architecture. I urged very careful consideration of ways to protect the essential cooperation that now exists."

ENDS

Charlie Flanagan TD

Charlie Flanagan TD

Charlie Flanagan TD is Minister for Justice and Equality.

 

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Updated: 15 September 2017

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