The Danish Minister of Justice aims to strengthen the fight against terrorism in Europe

The Danish Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, chairs the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting and he has chosen to put the fight against terrorism on the top of the agenda.

The Danish Minister of Justice and Chair of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Morten Bødskov, aims to strengthen EU’s efforts to combat terrorism. Therefore, the Danish minister has placed the fight against terrorism at the very top of the agenda when the European Ministers for Home Affairs meet at the Council meeting in Luxembourg. The Danish Minister of Justice also aims to strengthen the efforts to prevent and combat illegal migration.

On 26-27 April 2012 a Council meeting on Justice and Home Affairs is held in Luxembourg. On the first day of the meeting, the Interior Ministers of the Member States will discuss current activities in the area of Home Affairs. EU-Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, will also take part in the meeting.

The Danish Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, chairs the JHA Council (Justice and Home Affairs) and he has chosen to put the fight against terrorism on the top of the agenda at the Ministerial meeting.

The Danish Presidency hopes that agreement will be reached in the Council on the establishment of a European PNR System for exchanging passenger information (Passenger Name Records) with the purpose of fighting terrorism and other serious crimes such trafficking in human beings and drugs smuggling.

Furthermore, the Danish Presidency wants to secure a better control with chemical substances that can be used to produce homemade explosives (precursors to explosives). The Member States are currently negotiating a Regulation on explosive precursors and the Presidency hopes for political backing of a compromise at the Council meeting which will introduce a ban against private persons’ possession of a number of chemical substances.

Also, the efforts to prevent terrorism must be strengthened.  The latest occurences in several European countries underline the need for action. At the Council meeting, the Danish Minister of Justice will try to get political support for a number of initiatives aimed at helping radicalized persons out of extremist environments. As an example, special tools on initializing targeted dialogues with persons connected to extremist environments should be developed.  
At the Council meeting, the Presidency also intends to present an EU Action Plan on fighting illegal migration which will include 80 concrete initiatives. A discussion on the need for cooperation with relevant third countries through the ongoing development of EU’s Global Approach to Migration and Mobility is also foreseen. 

The Danish Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, states:

”Unfortunately, terrorism is still one of the most serious threats against the general safety in Europe. There might be times when we do not pay much attention to it, however tragic occurrences such as the mass murder at Utøya or the latest terrorist attack in Toulouse remind us that our safety and security cannot be taken for granted. Terrorism is an enemy with many faces which is why we must take action from different angles.

We must consequently and effectively prosecute persons who commit acts of terrorism. I want to make sure that we have effective and up-to-date investigative tools. It is the only way to ensure that we are able to maintain coherent efforts to fight terrorism and other serious crime in a globalised world where criminals move across borders. Therefore, I hope that on the Council meeting we will be able to reach agreement on the establishment of a European system for exchanging passenger information. Such a system would be an important investigative tool in fighting terrorism. Due to the Danish Protocol, Denmark will unfortunately not be able to take part in this new cooperation.

We must also stay focused on preventing terrorism. We must help radicalized persons to get out of extremist environments. Where possible, we must act before words turn into concrete action. Therefore, at the Council meeting I will propose to strengthen the efforts regarding deradicalization that I hope my colleagues will be supportive of. 

Another important element in the efforts to prevent terrorism is to tackle the means by which the terrorists commit their horrendous crimes. At the Council meeting, the ministers will discuss the possibility of limiting the access of private persons to chemical substances that can be used to produce explosives. Regrettably, we have several tragic examples of homemade explosives being used in terrorist attacks and we must ensure a more solid control of the chemical substances.”
Denmark holds the Presidency of The Council of The European Union during the first six months of 2012. The Council is made up of 10 Council configurations dealing with different thematic areas. The Minister of Jus-tice is President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council.

The general purpose of the JHA Council is to ensure that the EU remains an “area with freedom, security and justice” and the Council deals with cooperation on border control, immigration, asylum, civil protection, civil law and police and criminal law matters.

The JHA Council convenes three times during each Presidency and the meeting on 26-27 April is the second formal Council Meeting under the current Danish Presidency. The Danish Presidency hosted a informal JHA Ministerial Meeting on 26-27 January 2012 in Copenhagen.