EU home affairs ministers to discuss counter-terrorism, hybrid threats and migration

EU2019FIMinistry of the Interior 4.10.2019 13.44
Press release 77/2019

Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo will attend the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 8 October. EU home affairs ministers will discuss migration, countering hybrid threats and counter-terrorism, among other topics. The discussions on fighting against terrorism and preventing violent extremism will stress the importance of tackling the phenomenon in all its forms, right-wing violent extremism and terrorism included. Ministers will also discuss the progress of the implementation of the regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard.

Combatting the sexual abuse of children is also on the meeting agenda. As the Presidency, Finland aims to have the Council conclusions on combatting the sexual abuse of children adopted in Luxembourg.

"Sexual abuse of children crosses borders and the digital world gives the perpetrators an environment where they can operate increasingly anonymously and secretly. By adopting the conclusions, the Council would commit to defending the fundamental rights of children and the rights of victims of crime. It is important that we use all available means and channels also at EU level to prevent sexual abuse of children," says Minister of the Interior Ohisalo.

Ministers will also discuss the challenges and opportunities brought by new technologies. New technologies will have significant impact on the work of law enforcement authorities in the future. 5G mobile networks will transform the world of telecommunications in unprecedented ways. Citizens must be ensured a safe cyber space even in the future.

"Law enforcement authorities must keep up with technological developments, and preferably they should be in the front line. It is important that the EU adopt a common approach to the challenges and opportunities created by new technologies so as to avoid overlapping work," says Ohisalo.

General overview on migration, including temporary mechanism for the Mediterranean, on the agenda

Ministers will have a debate on the state of play on migration, taking a general overview of the principal routes to the EU: the arrival numbers are below those in the previous years, although an upward trend can be detected on the Eastern Mediterranean route. The Greek and Cypriot ministers have written to the EU and the Member States, requesting support in dealing with the growing number of asylum seekers.

Ministers will also discuss a joint proposal, agreed by Germany, France, Italy and Malta on 23 September, concerning a temporary mechanism for relocating asylum seekers rescued from the Mediterranean to other EU Member States. Involvement in the scheme is voluntary. The European Commission and Finland as the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU brokered the negotiations between the four countries. Now it is time to see how many Member States will volunteer for the temporary mechanism.

"The Presidency’s priority is to find a sustainable solution to reforming the Common European Asylum System and making it viable. However, the agreement by the four countries to aid the countries under migratory pressure is a promising step forward. As the Presidency, we have supported the process," says Minister Ohisalo.

Internet Forum to discuss online terrorist threats

Minister Ohisalo will also attend the EU Internet Forum on 7 October. The forum is a collaboration of the EU and the technology industry, founded in 2015 to allow technology companies, EU institutions, EU ministers and Europol to discuss together the elimination of terrorist content online.

The forum will discuss EU cooperation to eliminate terrorist content, combatting sexual abuse of children online and preventing emerging terrorist threats online, among other topics.

"It is important that companies cooperate on a voluntary basis to remove terrorist content online," says Minister Ohisalo.

Inquiries

Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 40 720 2216, [email protected]

Jarno Lappalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 400 536 973, [email protected]