Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement:Written statement - HCWS987

WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 10 October 2018
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

I will attend the Justice and Home Affairs Council for Justice Day on Thursday 11 October.

Following the partial general approach already agreed at Council in June on Titles III, IV and V of the proposed Directive on Restructuring and Insolvency (discharge from insolvency, efficiency of procedures and data collection requirements), work has focused on the remaining Titles I, II and VI. These cover, subject matter and scope, measures on preventive restructuring frameworks and final provisions. In the light of the progress made, the Council will discuss a general approach on the Restructuring Directive. The UK supports the aims of the Directive to progress the objectives of the Commission’s Capital Markets Union Action Plan, and will support the general approach.

The Council will discuss the proposed Regulation relating to improving law enforcement access to data held by communication service providers (E-Evidence). There will be a policy debate on the issue of whether a Member State should be notified when a production or preservation order is issued to a service provider based in their territory or where the person whose data is sought is based in their territory. The debate will focus on the Regulation, which the UK is not participating in.

There will be an any other business item on Sale of Goods.

There will be a presentation by the director of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (Michael O’Flaherty) following on from the publication of the FRA’s annual report on the fundamental rights situation in the EU, and in light of the event the FRA held across a wide range of fundamental rights topics last month (25-27 September). The Council will also be asked to discuss, and potentially adopt, Council Conclusions on the EU’s latest annual report on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

There will also be a discussion on free and fair elections (including freedom from personal data misuse and cyber incidents), focussing on the upcoming European Parliament elections. The UK’s exit from the EU will mean that we will not be taking part in future European Parliamentary elections.

There will be a lunch time discussion covering EU financing for justice. The UK does not participate in the current Justice Programme (2014-2020) and will be a third country when the next Justice Programme and the other programmes likely to be discussed enter into force. The UK will consider its participation as a third country in due course.

The Commission will provide an update on the planned preparatory steps on the legal and organisational measures to be taken to make the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) operational. The UK does not participate in the EPPO.

Ministers will exchange views on ways to reinforce judicial cooperation in criminal justice through mutual recognition tools, including the European Arrest Warrant and European Investigation Order. The UK values our cooperation under these tools and will highlight our commitment to the principle of mutual recognition and the importance of close operational working between Member States to ensure that they function efficiently.

The Home Secretary will attend the JHA Council for Interior Day on 12 October.

There will be a policy debate on the proposed Regulation to amend the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation which aims to reinforce the EU’s Integrated Border Management strategy and further protect the external borders by providing the European Border and Coast Guard Agency with a standing corps of 10,000 staff with executive powers, their own equipment and the ability to act in third countries. This is a Schengen building measure which the UK does not participate in.

The Council will discuss the proposed recast of the EU Returns Directive. The UK chose not to participate in the current version of this Directive. The UK will need to decide whether to participate in this recast.

The Council will discuss developments under the comprehensive approach on migration. The Presidency will focus on the Common European Asylum System, cooperation with North African countries on a range of migration issues including Search and Rescue disembarkations, and work to tackle organised immigration crime. The UK supports work to strengthen the EU’s external borders and to intensify relationships with key third countries in order to break smuggling networks and ensure that protection is given to those most in need.

The Council will discuss proposed EU JHA funding programmes for the next (2021-27) Multiannual Financial Framework. These programmes will commence after the UK’s exit from the EU and the end of the envisaged Implementation Period. The UK will not be participating in any future programmes as a Member State. The UK will consider options to participate as a third country on a case by case basis where there is benefit to the UK.

There will be further debate on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, including the issues of solidarity, responsibility and relocation in the context of the Dublin IV proposal, in which the UK is not participating.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS954

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