(EU) EU/JUSTICE/HOME AFFAIRS: IMMIGRATION AND TRAFFICKING OF HUMAN BEINGS THE FOCUS OF WORK IN STOCKHOLM - COMMISSION ANNOUNCES DEFINITION OF TERRORIST CRIME - PILOT PROJECT ON FREE MOVEMENT OF JUDGEMENTS
Stockholm, 09/02/2001 (Agence Europe)
After having overviewed the implications of EU asylum and immigration policies, the Union's Justice and Home Affairs Ministers discussed, on Friday 9 February, during their informal meeting in Stockholm, the fight against the trade in human beings. Their work was based on the Commission's Communication on the common definitions of the trade in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children with a view to uniform sanctions and cooperation among the Fifteen (see EUROPE of 23 December 2006, p. 1 5). The ministers decided to speed up work on the French proposal relating to those who smuggle people across borders and on the issue of the fight against organised crime.
In Stockholm, the ministers also held an exchange of views on the question of the free movement of legal decisions. They decided to launch a pilot project on unchallenged debts, to which Commissioner Antonio Vitorino gave his full support (see EUROPE of 8 February, p. 12).
Furthermore, the ministers discussed the recent signing of the Italian-Spanish agreement on the extradition of terrorists, and Spanish Justice Minister Angel Acebes and his German counterpart Herta Däubler-Gmelin held bilateral talks on Thursday in order to launch negotiations on the setting up of cooperation between their countries to fight against serious crime (terrorism, trafficking of human beings, drugs trafficking). The European Commission announced it would propose, by September this year, a definition of terrorist crime, a simplification of extradition procedures and a European arrest warrant.
During the final press conference, Swedish Justice Minister Thomas Bodström pointed out that the Swedish Presidency had proposed several measures to fight against the exploitation of women and children, including a new European criminal legislation against the trafficking of human being and the sexual exploitation of children. It also proposed the funding of projects to support this fight and cooperation with countries applying for EU membership. Maj-Inger Klingvall, Swedish Immigration Minister, noted that the trafficking in human beings is first and foremost linked to poverty, and that the fight against this phenomenon should therefore be an integral part of development.aid policy. Marc Verwilghen, Belgian Justice Minister (and future JHA Council President) pointed out that the two projects he hoped to see brought to a successful conclusion during the Belgian Presidency were the strengthening of Europol and the creation of Eurojust. Mr Verwilghen, who noted that the Commission Communication on the trade in human beings and child pornography "is a serious step forward", welcomed the fact that the Commission "has got into step with the United Nations and other international organisations that are fighting this traffic". The minister stressed in this context the importance that he grants to the protocol signed in Palermo, and hoped it would be rapidly ratified by the 40 participant states.