Communiqué for EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting
Release Date: December 15, 2022
- On 15 December 2022, the United States hosted the EU-U.S. Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs at Department of Homeland Security Headquarters in Washington D.C. The United States was represented by Secretary for Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The European Union was represented by the Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, the Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, as well as the Czech Ministers for Justice Pavel Blažek and for the Interior Vít Rakušan.
- The meeting in Washington was an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the European Union and the United States to a strong transatlantic partnership, at a time of major geopolitical challenges. The two sides expressed their determination to strengthen cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs matters, uphold democracy and strengthen respect for the rule of law.
- The United States and the European Union condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine, and confirmed their unequivocal commitment to work together to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities committed in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The United States and the European Union support a range of international initiatives aimed at promoting the investigation and prosecution of international crimes committed in Ukraine, as well as national investigations by Ukraine and by third countries that can establish jurisdiction. These initiatives include the ongoing investigations conducted by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the Joint Investigation Team set up with the support of Eurojust, as well as the work of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the work of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group’s multinational teams that are assisting the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. The United States and the European Union will continue to step up cooperation, including with the competent authorities of the EU Member States and Ukraine involved in the Joint Investigation Team. The United States and the European Union further emphasized their strong commitment to supporting the work of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General in investigating and gathering evidence, and commended the support provided by Eurojust, Europol and the U.S. Department of Justice War Crimes Accountability Team in this effort.
- The United States and the European Union intend to continue to work together towards full enforcement of sanctions, including by taking the necessary steps to prevent and punish sanctions evasion and circumvention, and taking action to seize assets linked to criminal activity such as sanctions evasion. The United States and the European Union have so far frozen significant sums of sanctioned Russians' assets in financial accounts and economic resources and of Russian Central Bank assets.
- The United States and the European Union intend to continue to work together to support people fleeing the war in Ukraine. They reiterated their commitment to address security threats stemming from the war, including the risk of firearms trafficking.
- Terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms remain a top security threat for the United States and the European Union and need to be addressed with appropriate tools. Exchange of terrorism-related information is key to achieve this objective. Both sides endorsed a pilot project on exchanging such information in a more systematic way and tasked the Senior Officials to take stock of the project at their next meeting in the first half of 2023. All praised the operational work and results of the ongoing information exchange between EU agencies and U.S. law enforcement and judicial authorities and examples of such work were presented.
- The United States and the European Union stressed the importance of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data exchange as a key international instrument to prevent terrorism and combat crime. Both sides expressed their mutual commitment to the continued exchange of PNR data, in full respect of human rights and freedoms and the rule of law, and in furtherance of the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on PNR established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In this light, they reinforced their intent to work together in addressing the findings and recommendations of the joint evaluation of the bilateral agreement.
- The United States and the European Union confirmed their objective of relaunching negotiations for an EU-U.S. agreement facilitating access to electronic evidence for the purpose of cooperation in criminal matters at the beginning of 2023, following the provisional agreement reached on the EU internal rules on e-evidence. The United States and the European Union committed to reinforcing cooperation against cross border organized criminal networks, in particular those involved in the illicit manufacture and trafficking of drugs, such as cocaine, synthetic opioids, methamphetamine, fentanyl and new psychoactive substances.
- The European Union and the United States committed to further strengthen cooperation against environmental crime, including by developing cooperation tools and mechanisms to exchange information and best practices, also via Eurojust where possible. They committed to identify potential joint operational activities and investigations in the areas of marine and maritime pollution, such as ship source pollution, protecting marine biodiversity, and offenses involving transboundary shipment of waste.
- The European Union and the United States welcomed the progress made by the three EU Member States not yet in the Visa Waiver Program and reiterated their willingness to pursue efforts in the context of the tripartite process and bilateral discussions. The two sides concurred on the importance of reciprocal visa-free travel under their respective legal frameworks.
- They discussed the U.S. Enhanced Border Security Partnership and the value of bilateral information sharing under this program. They also expressed their intent to discuss future cooperation at the EU level.
- Reaffirming their joint commitment to advance together towards common solutions in all these areas, the United States and the European Union decided to meet again in the first half of 2023 in Stockholm.
Last Updated: 12/15/2022