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Highlights from the meeting of Justice ministers (JHA Council) held in Brussels on 8 December 2017.

Main results - 8 December

Freezing and confiscation regulation

The Council agreed a general approach on the draft regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders. Effective freezing and confiscation of assets obtained through criminal activity is an important measure to combat financing of crime, including terrorism.

European criminal records information system (ECRIS)

The Council reached a general approach on two legislative proposals for the use of ECRIS regarding third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN). The main objective of this draft legislation is to establish an efficient mechanism to enable access to criminal record information of third country nationals and stateless persons convicted in the EU, so they cannot escape their criminal past.

Matrimonial matters and parental responsibility

Ministers held a debate on the revision of the so-called Brussels IIa regulation (regulation on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction). They supported the abolition of the exequatur regarding all remaining decisions in matters of parental responsibility and noted the importance of safeguards in this area.

A growing number of families live their lives across borders and we need to make sure that legislation also reflects their realities and protects the best interest of the child. Today we discussed how a decision in relation to matters of parental responsibility made in one member state can be more quickly enforced in all other member states, avoiding cumbersome and costly procedures.

Urmas Reinsalu, Estonian Minister of Justice
Highlights from Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Brussels on 7 December 2017.
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  • 08:30 Arrivals
  • 12:35 Public session
  • 15:30 Press conference


  • 08:30 Arrivals
  • 10:15 Public session
  • 14:45 Public session
  • 17:30 Press conference

Godziny podane w przybliżeniu

Main results - 7 December


The Council agreed its position on a draft regulation on the European agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA). This regulation will strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA, including through its contribution to the development of technical solutions to achieve interoperability, subject to a forthcoming legislative proposal on interoperability.

Counter terrorism

Ministers exchanged views on radicalisation, on the basis of the interim report of the European Commission's high level group on radicalisation. They also discussed in the presence of the counter-terrorism group (CTG) possible opportunities for further cooperation between competent authorities dealing with counter-terrorism.

To be able to fight terrorism and improve the security of EU citizens we need to respond on all levels. This ranges from preventing radicalisation, improving cooperation between different authorities, to making sure we have access to the data we need to stop terrorists from committing attacks.

Andres Anvelt, minister of interior of Estonia

Data retention and encryption

Justice and home affairs ministers held a joint discussion on encryption on the basis of the measures presented by the European Commission in October. They welcomed the technical measures presented and urged the Commission to continue examining the issue. The Commission was invited to report on progress on implementation of the proposed technical measures in March 2018. Ministers also looked forward to the presentation of the legislative proposal on e-evidence, expected to take place in January.

Ministers discussed data retention and provided guidance for future work at expert level. They focused on three aspects: ensuring coherence with the draft e-privacy regulation, restricting the scope of the data retention framework, and setting out strong safeguards for access to retained data.

Other items

Ministers informally discussed the strengthening of the Schengen area. They took note of the work already done and highlighted the need to continue work on the various initiatives being taken to improve the control of the external border and preserve free movement.