EU-U.S. Joint Statement Following the EU-U.S. Ministerial on Justice and Home Affairs 14 November 2023 (Washington, D.C.)
1. On 13 and 14 November 2023, the EU-U.S. Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs took place in Washington D.C. The United States was represented by U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary for Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. The European Union was represented by the Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Didier Reynders and the Spanish Minister for Justice Pilar Llop. The incoming Presidency of the EU Council was represented by the Belgian Minister for Justice, Paul Van Tigchelt, and Minister for the Interior, Annelies Verlinden.
2. The meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm the strong transatlantic partnership and joint commitment to a regular dialogue and close cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs, at a time of major geopolitical challenges. Both sides remain committed to uphold democratic values and strengthen respect for the rule of law.
3. The United States and the European Union are unwavering in their long-term support to Ukraine and its people as they defend themselves against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression. Both sides remain committed to providing protection to those who were forced to flee Ukraine, and they expressed concern for those currently living under Russian occupation or who have otherwise been displaced as a result of the Russian aggression.
4. Russia and its leadership must be held accountable for waging a war of aggression against Ukraine. The United States and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to pursuing full accountability for atrocities that have been perpetrated in Ukraine. The United States and the European Union called for work to continue, including in the Core Group, on efforts to establish a tribunal for the prosecution of the crime of aggression against Ukraine that would enjoy the broadest cross-regional support and legitimacy. Both sides saluted the important role of the International Criminal Court, Ukrainian courts, and other courts in accountability efforts, and condemned Russian attempts to undermine their work. They also praised the vital work being conducted at Eurojust, including the investigatory work carried out by participants in the Joint Investigation Team for Ukraine and the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine, and the development and contributions to the Core International Crimes Evidence Database, all of which are strongly supported by the United States.
5. The United States and the European Union reiterated their commitment to ensuring that Russia pays for all the damage it has and continues to cause in Ukraine. Both sides also stressed the importance of the Register of Damage established by the Council of Europe. They reaffirmed their readiness to work towards the establishment of a future compensation mechanism.
6. The United States and the European Union confirmed that they are exploring all possible avenues to aid Ukraine, consistent with their respective legal systems and international law, including with regard to Russian sovereign assets. They reiterated that in the short term, they will explore how any extraordinary revenues held by private entities stemming directly from immobilized Russian sovereign assets could be used to support Ukraine and its recovery and reconstruction consistent with applicable contractual obligations and in compliance with applicable laws.
7. Close cooperation on the full enforcement of sanctions, including trade related sanctions, remains paramount, as does cooperation with other international partners, including G7 countries, to avoid any enforcement gap. This cooperation will be enhanced following the adoption of EU legislation on harmonising criminal offences and penalties for the violation of EU restrictive measures, as well as on asset recovery and confiscation.
8. The United States and the European Union emphasized their commitment to addressing security threats created by the Russian invasion, in particular working with Ukraine to bolster efforts to prevent, detect and fight against diversion and trafficking of firearms, other small arms and light weapons, and trafficking in human beings, as well as law enforcement cooperation on information exchange and joint operational actions.
9. The United States and the European Union discussed their joint intent to deepen cooperation in assisting Ukraine on justice reform, the rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts as it continues on its European path.
10. The importance of continuing to provide necessary support to the Republic of Moldova was discussed, and the sides concurred on the need for exploring more operational cooperation from the United States and the European Union in that respect, and to support the necessary rule of law and justice reforms, also in view of its European path.
11. The United States and the European Union stand united and firm in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
12. With regard to the situation in the Middle East, the United States and the European Union recalled the EU-U.S. Summit Joint Statement of 20 October 2023, in which the United States and the European Union stated:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms Hamas and its brutal terrorist attacks across Israel. There is no justification for terrorism. The United States and the European Union affirm Israel’s right to defend itself against these heinous attacks, in line with international law, including international humanitarian law. The United States and the European Union will work closely with partners in the region to stress the importance of protecting civilians, supporting those who are trying to get to safety or provide assistance, and facilitating access to food, water, medical care, and shelter. The United States and the European Union are concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It is crucial to prevent regional escalation. The United States and the European Union call for the immediate release of all hostages and emphasize their shared view that a two-state solution remains the viable path to lasting peace.”
13. In this context, both sides reject all forms of incitement to violence, deplore hatred in all forms, and express concern about the rise of criminal acts inspired by hate, religious intolerance, racism and xenophobia, including antisemitism and Islamophobia, both in Europe and the United States including with respect to radicalisation to violence of young people. They share the sense of urgency in strengthening the ability to detect and counter new methods used by terrorists and violent extremist groups, including online recruitment. They also discussed the role and negative effects of algorithmic amplification, and the overall misuse of platform services, as they continue to expand their respective prevention efforts internally. Both sides remain committed to further cooperation between law enforcement in the European Union and the United States to counter these threats.
14. Countering terrorism and violent extremism threats requires concerted efforts and appropriate tools. Exchange and effective use of terrorism-related information including battlefield information, financial intelligence and Passenger Name Records, are key in achieving this objective. Both sides praised the continued cooperation on exchange of information between the FBI and Europol on known or suspected terrorists identified in conflict zones and intend to further step up information sharing regarding, in particular, the Sahel region while continuing notably the cooperation on Afghanistan.
15. Both sides praised, and intend to continue, ongoing DHS-Europol pilot projects aimed at exchanging information related to terrorism and removals in a more systematic way. These pilot projects are a good blueprint for a more structured cooperation between DHS and Europol on topics of mutual interest.
16. The United States and the European Union remain committed to reinforcing cooperation against cross border organized criminal networks, in particular those involved in illicit manufacture and trafficking of cocaine and synthetic drugs, including fentanyl. The United States and European Union also decided to further their exchanges through the EU-U.S. Dialogue on Drugs, and at appropriate multilateral fora, in relation to supply and demand reduction. The United States and the European Union underlined the need for joint efforts to address synthetic drugs in the context of the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats and encouraged its members to work on tangible, forward-looking deliverables.
17. The United States and the European Union welcomed the progress of the negotiations for an EU-U.S. agreement facilitating access to electronic evidence in criminal proceedings and expressed their commitment to advance those negotiations rapidly.
18. The United States and the European Union will continue to closely coordinate towards a new UN Convention on cybercrime, especially as its negotiations reach their final and most crucial stage. The United States and the European Union support a convention that advances international cooperation to fight cybercrime, while respecting human rights and rule of law safeguards, and reaffirm that the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and its Second Additional Protocol remain the primary instruments for international cooperation on cybercrime.
19. The United States and the European Union exchanged views on the benefits and risks associated with new and emerging artificial intelligence technology and tools relevant for law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Both sides also confirmed their intent to discuss this topic further, and collaborate where possible for the broader good and safety of the public.
20. The United States and the European Union exchanged views on their external borders’ situation, where they have identified common risks and challenges. The discussion was focused on addressing irregular migration. The sides committed to meet regularly on the topic at a technical level, namely by exchanging information about trends, methods, and responses to irregular migration and developing potential solutions together.
21. The United States and the European Union praised the successful first Ministerial Meeting of the Resettlement Diplomacy Network (RDN) in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. Both sides reiterated their commitment to work more closely together to strengthen and expand their respective resettlement programmes and offer more durable solutions, provided for, in particular, by lawful pathways.
22. 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 to reach a positive result. The two sides concurred on the importance of reciprocal visa-free travel under their respective legal frameworks.
23. 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 2024 in Brussels.