Justice and Home Affairs

Photo: Johan Göransson/Regeringskansliet

The Stockholm Programme: Focus on the citizen

23 December 12:15

What has the 2009 Swedish Presidency achieved in the area of justice and home affairs? Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask and Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy Tobias Billström highlight some of the most important points below.

The Stockholm Programme is to define the framework for EU police and customs cooperation, rescue services, criminal and civil law cooperation, asylum, migration and visa policy for the period 2010–2014. The Programme was discussed at the informal ministerial meeting in Stockholm in July 2009 and will ultimately be adopted by EU Heads of State and Government at the Summit in December 2009.

Work is in progress in the EU on creating a common asylum system. It must be legally secure and transparent, and must safeguard the opportunity to seek asylum and respect human rights. It is also important to guarantee that an asylum application is assessed in an equivalent and legally secure manner in all Member States, and to achieve a fairer distribution among EU countries regarding responsibility and costs for asylum seekers.

European cooperation is crucial in combating cross-border organised crime. It is a matter of developing cooperation among law enforcement actors, i.e. the Member States’ police services, customs authorities and public prosecutors, as well as with Eurojust, the European Union body for prosecution cooperation, and Europol, the European law enforcement organisation. The Member States’ border control is also an important tool in the fight against cross-border crime.

Creating greater legal certainty is of major importance to the everyday lives of many citizens. If civil law problems arise for people who move within the EU or who have property in another Member State, this can in practice interfere with free movement. The Presidency will give priority to work on reviewing the Brussels I Regulation concerning court jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of judgments in the area of civil law.

The Swedish Presidency will promote a section on the rights of crime victims in the upcoming Stockholm Programme. The aim is to increase opportunities for promoting efforts to strengthen support to crime victims in the EU. As part of these eff orts, the Presidency also plans to draft and negotiate Council conclusions on a coordinated strategy and practical measures to support crime victims. The Council conclusions will create a framework for various measures that are intended
to strengthen support to crime victims and to specify the focus of future work.


Police cooperation and asylum policy are discussed

The JHA Council usually meets every other month. It deals with issues such as asylum, cooperation to combat terrorism, and EU-wide judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The Member States are represented by their ministers for justice, home affairs or migration. During Sweden’s six months as president, an informal meeting will also be held in Stockholm in July, hosted by Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask and Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy Tobias Billström.