EU Justice Ministers discuss strengthening rule of law

EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs have discussed strengthening the rule of law and mutual trust among the authorities of the Member States during their Informal Meeting held in Croatia, Zagreb, on 23 and 24 January 2020.

Cyprus’ Minister of Justice George Savvides took part in the meeting aimed at determining actions for the implementation of the priorities set for the area of Freedom, Security and Justice, an anouncement released by the press and information office says.

In his intervention, Minister said, among other things, that the commitment to principles and values of the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights by everyone is a cornerstone and a prerequisite for mutual trust among judicial authorities in order to ensure unhindered and effective cooperation.

In addition, he stressed that in the area of criminal justice, emphasis should be placed on completing legislative proposals concerning the exchange of electronic evidence as an important tool against crime.

He also acknowledged the operation of the European Prosecutor’s Office as particularly important for the prosecution of financial crimes against the EU budget.

Noting the need for effective implementation at national level of EU instruments adopted to enhance defendants’ procedural rights, he expressed the view that this would contribute, among other things, to the creation of a common European judicial culture, thereby greatly contributing to the unhindered implementation of judicial cooperation tools.

During the discussion, Ministers further agreed to consider new initiatives to enhance protection for victims, to prepare the new strategy on judicial training as well as to formulate new legislative proposals on the issues of waste trafficking and trafficking of cultural goods.

On the second day of the meeting, the Ministers focused on the priorities for maintaining EU internal security, focusing on external border security, immigration policy, the fight against terrorism, the use of artificial intelligence and the equipping adequately prosecuting authorities.

On the sidelines of the Council, Savvides met with the new EU Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynders, whom he briefed on the progress of justice reform in Cyprus and exchanged views on issues of common interest.

They agreed that the Commissioner will visit Cyprus in the next six months to have meetings with the relevant authorities.

In addition, he had separate discussions with other EU Ministers, as well as with the President of Eurojust and the Director of Europol, who is expected to visit Cyprus next week.

Source: Cyprus News Agency