Press Conference, EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial /Dublin
14 June 2013
Let me first thank the Irish Presidency for the organisation of this event. The EU-U.S. ministerial meeting offered an excellent opportunity to discuss important issues in the Home Affairs field.
As for the debate in the PRISM and MINERVA programmes we had a frank exchange.
Our U.S. friends have given us today their view on the nature and the safeguards that apply to these programmes. Some details are now known, others have to be known better.
I am happy to say that the U.S. have understood our concerns and are ready to provide us with relevant information on this sensitive issue.
In order to continue this important dialogue we have agreed to set up a transatlantic group of experts that will discuss these issues more in detail and will look at the safeguards.
From our side we made clear that we need more details on the information they use, what kind of results are generated, what is the scope and the safeguards.
We have conveyed the message that it is our common interest to accommodate the concerns raised by the media revelations by giving more explanations.
We have also been clear on the fact that any measures that might have consequences on EU citizens’ data protection have to be conditioned to robust safeguards and guarantees.
We need to strike the right balance between the fight against terrorism and possible limits to personal privacy.
Our approach has to be based on legitimate and proportionate measures subject to appropriate judicial and democratic oversight.
During the morning we have discussed mobility, borders and migration issues. On the Visa waiver programme and the reciprocity issue I stressed the importance we attach to the admission of the four remaining countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland and Romania) to the U.S. Visa Waiver programme.
We have also taken stock of the U.S. Immigration reform and I illustrated some recent EU developments in the migration area, exploring possible co-operation in this field and in particularly the idea to organise a seminar on Syria under the EU-U.S. Migration Platform. It will be a good opportunity to exchange information and coordinate the EU and U.S. approaches to Syrian refugees’ crisis.
We have also exchanged views on the High level dialogue on migration and development that will take place in New York in October. I reiterated the call for the EU and U.S. to stand side by side in the process leading up to the UN dialogue.
In the counter-terrorism and security session we focussed on initiatives to counter violent extremism and I illustrated to the U.S. authorities the work we are carrying out in the EU via the Radicalisation Awareness Network.
We exchanged views on the issue of foreign fighters and we discussed explosives security exploring ideas for further development of cooperation within the EU–U.S. expert group.
We have also discussed about cyber Security and about the follow up of the Global Alliance to fight pedo-pornography online.
I am happy to see that our joint efforts have brought the number of countries participating to the Global Alliance to 49. We discussed how to involve new countries and to expand the Alliance even further in view of the next conference that will take place in the US in September 2014. Here to read more.