On June 22, 2021, the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union hosted the EU-U.S. Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs in Lisbon and made progress on count-terrorism, violent extremism, Passenger Name Record (PNR) data exchange. They also discussed developing bilateral and multilateral instruments to combat cybercrime, using artificial intelligence, and developing well-managed and humane migration policies.
They underscored the need to cooperate against terrorism, including prevention, permanent vigilance, adaptation, and resilience from all relevant actors.
The U.S. and EU underscored their strong concern with the rise of violent extremism. They cited crimes inspired by hate speech, racism and xenophobia both in Europe and the U.S. Violent extremism constitutes a direct threat to democratic societies. It requires renewed attention by law enforcement, judicial authorities, the private sector and civil society. The U.S. and EU pledged to expand their information exchanges on violent extremist groups, especially those with transnational linkages.
The U.S. and EU underscored the importance of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) data exchange to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorism, combat serious crime, including child exploitation, and protect the safety of citizens.
Digital Aspects and Cybercrimes
The U.S. and EU discussed the need to cooperate to shape a digital future based on their shared democratic values. They acknowledged the potential benefits and risks of suing Artificial Intelligence technologies for law enforcement and the judiciary. They discussed the need to develop and use such technologies in a trustworthy way in conformity with human rights obligations.
They discussed current and upcoming EU efforts on combating illegal content online, including the need to improve the cooperation between the authorities and online platforms to detect ongoing criminal activity. The U.S. and EU pledged to continue cooperating to most effectively exercise their lawful authorities to combat serious crime both online and offline.
The two sides will focus on combating ransomware, including through law enforcement action, raising public awareness on how to protect networks, the risks of paying criminals responsible, and encouraging those states that have not cooperated to arrest and extradite or effectively prosecute criminals on their territory.
Concerning bilateral and multilateral instruments to combat cybercrime, the U.S. and EU reinforced their commitment to negotiate as soon as possible an Eu-U.S. agreement facilitating access to e-evidence to cooperate in criminal matters. They welcomed the recent approval by the Committee of State Parties to the Budapest Convention of the draft text of the Second Additional Protocol of the Budapest Convention, which is the main instrument for international cooperation on cybercrime. They observed the framework of negotiations on a possible future United Nations international legal instrument on cybercrime and committed to continue to closely coordinate their respective positions.
Migration and Travel
The two sides underscored the importance of well-managed and humane migration and discussed their respective efforts to develop comprehensive and enduring migration and asylum policies. Humanitarian protection should be available to qualifying persons. Unmeritorious claims must be detected quickly, including through information sharing and modern identity management techniques. Unmeritorious claims must be prevented from overwhelming migration systems or public confidence in them.
The agenda requires cooperation with third countries of origin, transit and destination. These jurisdiction also have a responsibility to discourage people from enlisting smugglers and traffickers and endangering the lives of migrants who take dangerous, irregular journeys. Both sides reaffirmed their interest in expanding the transatlantic dialogue on migration and mobility, focusing on sharing lessons learned, exploring complementary pathways to migration, addressing the root causes of migration, improving the return and readmission of irregular migrants and enhancing cooperation in and combatting migrant smuggling.
The U.S. and EU continued to endorse safe and secure mobility and the exchange of information on their respective measures towards the gradual resumption of non-essential international travel. Both sides pledged to restart secure travel between the U.S. and EU as soon as possible, based on the principles of mutual cooperation, efficient operation of the international travel system and scientific evidence.
The initial meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers of the two sides during the Biden Administration went quite well. Clearly, the priority of the Biden Administration for bilateral and multilateral cooperation contrasted with the America 1st unilateral approach of the Trump Administration. The visit of President to the NATO meeting and the EU itself as well as his removal of tariffs and support for the minimum global taxation and other initiatives of the OECD and EU were well received.
The threats of terrorism, organized crime, extremist and hate groups, cybercrime, and illegal migration are common to both sides.
The current issue of the IELR will have a more in depth discussion of the implications of the meeting.