EU and Eastern Partners pledge to step up cooperation over justice and home affairs

Justice and Home Affairs Ministers of the EU Member States and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, as well as representatives of the European Commission met in Luxembourg on 7-8 October 2013 to discuss current cooperation and future prospects in the area of justice and home affairs.

The participants signed a Joint Declaration on Eastern Partnership Justice and Home Affairs Cooperation which underscores progress of cooperation in justice and home affairs within the Eastern Partnership.

In particular, the Declaration cited the results achieved by the relevant panels under the Multilateral Platform on Democracy, Good Governance and Stability of the Eastern Partnership, namely Integrated border management; Fight against corruption; Improved functioning of the judiciary; Migration and asylum.

Participants underscored the importance of justice sector reform and efforts to prevent and fight corruption, stressing the role of civil society in the process of reform in the area of justice and home affairs.

The EU and partner countries will continue “consolidating, streamlining and complementing bilateral and multilateral JHA cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Partnership,” the Declaration said.

The Declaration stressed the need to:

·       ensure that all judicial systems meet European standards, in order to achieve an independent, efficient, impartial, accountable and effective judiciary and guarantee access to justice;

·       boost judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, including by encouraging accession to the relevant Council of Europe and Hague Conference multilateral conventions and by increasing regional cooperation;

·       step up efforts to tackle illicit drugs and psychoactive substances;

·       speed up efforts to bring data protection systems into line with European standards, including implementation of the relevant Council of Europe standards;

·       take forward work within the EaP to further develop and implement tools and measures aimed at preventing and fighting corruption;

·       strengthen further activities aimed at combating organised and transnational crime;

·       continue cooperation on migration and mobility, in particular through continuous and effective implementation of visa facilitation and readmission agreements, implementation of visa liberalisation action plans, and cooperation under mobility partnerships.

The participants have agreed to meet regularly to monitor progress and give political steer to their cooperation on this important thematic dimension of Eastern Partnership cooperation.

Source: www.enpi-info.eu

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