EU home affairs ministers discuss migration, situation in Afghanistan and fight against child sexual abuse
EU home affairs ministers will gather in Luxembourg on 8 October for a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council. Items on the agenda include the external dimension of migration, the situation in Afghanistan and the fight against child sexual abuse. Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo will represent Finland at the meeting.
Agenda highlights: partnerships with third countries and the current migration situation
Mutually beneficial partnerships with third countries, that is non-EU countries, have become a central part of the EU’s asylum and migration policy and its reform.
“We are now moving from general discussions on partnerships to concrete country-specific action plans. As part of tailored plans, the aim is to promote fundamental and human rights friendly solutions in the partner countries,” Minister Ohisalo says.
At this stage, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Nigeria, Niger, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq have been selected as the nine priority countries. The action plans for these countries specify clear objectives, additional support measures and concrete timelines. At the Council meeting, home affairs ministers will hear about the progress of the planning work.
The Council will also discuss the current migration situation. Among the issues likely to be raised are not only the traditionally important Mediterranean routes but also Belarus’s actions, in particular, at the borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, and the impacts of the situation in Afghanistan.
Counter-terrorism action plan on Afghanistan on the agenda
Since the Taliban’s takeover, EU countries have engaged in active discussions on the situation in Afghanistan and its impacts. An extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council was held at the end of August to discuss developments in Afghanistan, after which a statement was adopted. The Council will hear a report on the state of play from the Slovenian Presidency and the European Commission regarding Afghanistan and a presentation on the counter-terrorism action plan on Afghanistan.
New measures to combat child sexual abuse
Home affairs ministers will also discuss the digital dimension of investigating child sexual abuse and the related challenges. The European Commission is currently working on a new legislative instrument to combat online child sexual abuse. The future instrument is expected to include measures to intervene in situations where an online platform does not remove child sexual abuse material.
Plans are also underway to establish a European centre to prevent and counter child sexual abuse. Its objective would be to intensify cooperation between the Member States’ authorities, businesses and civil society. The centre would also support Member States in all measures related to the prevention of child sexual abuse, such as law enforcement, assistance for victims and international cooperation.
Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 295 488 250, [email protected]
Milja Henttonen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 599 3094, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Ohisalo)