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Home affairs ministers to discuss organised crime and cooperation with third countries on return

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 25.1.2023 15.40 | Published in English on 26.1.2023 at 9.39
Press release

EU home affairs ministers will gather in Stockholm on 26 January for an informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council. Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen will represent Finland at the meeting. The home affairs ministers will discuss the fight against organised crime and, in particular, the right of law enforcement and judicial authorities to access digital information and evidence. One of the objectives of the Swedish Presidency is to clarify the challenges in this field and propose methods for resolving them.

“Organised crime is serious crime with a cross-border dimension, and the EU must combat it in all possible ways. Strengthening cooperation between the EU law enforcement and judicial authorities is essential in the fight against organised crime. Measures are needed both at the EU level and in the Member States,” says Minister Mikkonen.

“With criminals moving increasingly online, we must find balanced ways to ensure that law enforcement authorities have access to encrypted information and digital evidence in a manner that respects data protection and fundamental and human rights,” she says.

In the EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime, published by the European Commission in spring 2021, it is estimated that 80 per cent of crimes have a digital component.

New solutions are needed to improve cooperation with third countries on return

As regards migration and asylum matters, the home affairs ministers will discuss an effective return policy and the related cooperation with third countries, i.e. non-EU countries. Making the EU’s return policy more effective is an essential part of a comprehensive approach to migration.

Over the years, efforts have been made to develop cooperation with third countries through readmission agreements and arrangements, for example. The effectiveness of returns is undermined by the unwillingness of some third countries to take back their citizens, although international law imposes an obligation to do so. New solutions are needed to improve EU cooperation with third countries in the field of returns and readmission.

At their meeting, the home affairs ministers will discuss incentives to improve cooperation with third countries on readmission. Incentives have been highlighted many times in the conclusions of the European Council. The conclusions of December 2021 specifically mention trade, visa and development policies.

Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 295 488 250, [email protected] 
Tiina Kivinen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 566 1922, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mikkonen)