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Justice and Home Affairs Informal

Start Date: 08/09/05

End Date: 09/09/05

Meeting type: Informal Ministerial Meeting
Policy area: Justice And Home Affairs
Location: Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park

The proceedings in Newcastle began with two plenary sessions focusing on Counter Terrorism. These allowed free discussion building on the work done at the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 13 July. Both meetings were chaired by the UK as the current presidency of the EU, with introductory remarks made by Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department. The first session concentrated on the terrorist threat and operations and included presentations by intelligence experts. The second session focused on the EU strategic framework for counter terrorism work and included a presentation by Gijs de Vries, the EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator.

A plenary session on retention of telecommunications data followed, again chaired by the Home Secretary. Presentations on this issues were heard from policy and industry representatives: Jim Gamble (National Crime Squad); Professor Michael Rotert (European Internet Services Providers Association) and Michael Bartholomew (European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association) and concerned the benefits and costs of data retention. Discussion of this subject continued over lunch.

In the afternoon of 8 September Ministers divided into four groups for the civil law plenary session and three workshops: Intelligence-led Policing workshop; Human Trafficking workshop; and Hi-tech and Internet Crime workshop.

The Civil Law plenary session was chaired by Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, the Rt Hon Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor, and was attended by the majority of Justice Ministers. During this session Ministers discussed Article 65, which is the part of the Treaty facilitating measures of European judicial co-operation, and agreed that it was important to move ahead and deliver benefits to citizens more quickly by concluding cross-border measures in this field. Ministers expressed their support for a simplified, accelerated and proportionate procedure for resolving small claims across European borders. Further, a range of constructive views were also expressed about the civil judicial network, which it was clear had real potential for informing citizens of their rights in this field.

The Intelligence-led policing workshop was chaired by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith and included a presentation by Max-Peter Ratzel, Director of Europol.

The Human Trafficking workshop was chaired by Tony McNulty MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality and included a presentation by Graham Maxwell, Deputy Chief Constable, South Yorkshire Police.

The Hi-tech Crime and Internet workshop was chaired by the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Minister for Criminal Justice and Offender Management and included a presentation by Luc Beirens, Federal Computer Crime Unit in Belgium.

Friday 9 September focused on External Relations and consisted of two plenary sessions chaired by the Home Secretary. During the first plenary session, David Lambo, UNHCR Director for Africa, gave a presentation on Africa and migration which set the theme for the rest of the discussion. Ministers noted the need for close cooperation between the EU and Africa on migration issues and welcomed the successful on-going EU work with third countries such as the Euromed partnership. The Presidency will support greater substantive discussion on migration issues, as part of the EU-Africa Dialogue and with sub-regional organisations, and will continue with work on the launch of regional protection programmes.

The final session concerned Afghanistan with a presentation from Minister Qaderi of Afghanistan. Ministers recognised the importance of working with Afghanistan to tackle the supply of heroin to the EU. The Presidency will continue to call on EU partners to ensure that counter narcotics is still a key priority in the reconstruction, policing and judicial reform activity in Afghanistan and to facilitate regional counter-narcotics cooperation.

Introduction to the JHA Informal by UK Secretary of State for the Home Department and UK Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs

Media briefing notes on agenda items:

Africa and migration issue

Afghan drugs

Retention of telecommunications traffic data

Future direction of EU counter-terrorism

Human trafficking

High-tech/internet crime

Organised crime

Annex - A European Criminal Intelligence Model

Civil Law

Photograph of Sage Gateshead and Millenium Bridge at night by Graeme Peacock
Sage Gateshead and Millenium Bridge at night
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Photograph of Grey's Monument and city from the sky by Graeme Peacock
Grey's Monument and city from the sky
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Photograph of Tyne Bridge by day by Gaeme Peacock
Tyne Bridge by day
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Photographs by Graeme Peacock