The Council confirmed two general orientations of the digital justice package, namely the proposal for a regulation on the digital exchange of information in terrorism cases and the proposal for a regulation establishing a collaborative platform to support the functioning of joint investigation teams.
The first proposal provides for the establishment and application of secure communication channels for the exchange of sensitive data between the competent authorities of EU Member States and Eurojust, while the second will facilitate the exchange of information and of evidence collected for members of the joint investigation team, ensuring simpler and safer communication and speeding up joint day-to-day management, including planning and coordination of activities. Negotiations with the European Parliament will start during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Ministers also took note of the state of negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament on the legislative package on electronic evidence. The French Presidency has continued efforts for progress.
During the discussion, the ministers paid particular attention to the war in Ukraine, in particular to the protection of children and minors, to a more effective implementation of restrictive measures and their further development in the space of the EU. The European Commission recently presented a new legislative package, which includes the seizure and confiscation of assets and a proposal to extend the list of EU crimes making the violation of EU restrictive measures a crime of the EU.
Minister Švarc Pipan said: “All our measures must be in line with the principle of the rule of law and our common European values. In the event of confiscation of assets, which constitutes a major violation of the rights of an individual, a extra caution is needed If we want to maintain our long-term credibility, all our measures must withstand possible judicial review by European courts.”
In addition, ministers reached agreement on a partial general approach on the draft directive on environmental crime, which strengthens the Union’s criminal law framework in the fight against environmental crime. They also discussed issues of minimum harmonization of sanctions for natural and legal persons. This is an important and sensitive area, requiring political attention and discussion.
Minister Švarc Pipan said: “The preservation of a healthy natural environment is an important asset for us, and criminal law mechanisms should certainly be used in the fight against serious forms of action harmful to the environment.‘It is true that the EU, with its ambitious approach, is also setting an example globally.”
The Council adopted the conclusions of the EU strategy on the rights of the child. The French Presidency has continued the work initiated in this area during the Slovenian Presidency. The consensus reached is a success, although a compromise was necessary. The text of the conclusions also includes a reference to the war in Ukraine and the challenges to be met from the point of view of the protection of children’s rights in armed conflicts. Furthermore, the text addresses the main challenges stemming from the EU strategy on the rights of the child and thus supports the Commission’s efforts to protect, strengthen and promote children’s rights, emphasizing in particular the importance of protecting the most vulnerable categories.
Ministers also took note of the status of EU accession to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). The Republic of Slovenia supports the accession of the EU to the ECHR because the respect of human rights by the EU would thus be subject to the external control of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which would strengthen still the system of protection of human rights in the EU.
During the working lunch, the ministers exchanged their views on the protection of personal data in the context of international data transfers. The discussion focused in particular on the establishment of a new regime for the exchange of predictable and reliable data between the EU and the United States, which would meet the standards set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the judgments Schrems I and Schrems II.
Minister Švarc Pipan said: “A coherent and ambitious European policy is of the utmost importance to converge the protection of fundamental rights at global level and to address the strategic challenges that international transfers of personal data pose to policy European horizontally.”
Besides the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council and at the invitation of the Head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office Laura Codruţa Kövesi, the Ministers of Justice also visited the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which celebrated the first anniversary of its activities on 1 June. On this occasion, Minister Švarc Pipan expressed her satisfaction that two European Delegated Prosecutors from Slovenia have been fully operational within the European Public Prosecutor’s Office since last November despite the undue delay in their appointment by the previous government. “They both have my full support and I am sure that they will carry out their work with professionalism and thoroughness,” added the Minister.