The Justice and Home Affairs Council met in Luxembourg on 20-21 June. Here is a summary of the meeting.

 

FECL 35 (June 1995):

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL IN LUXEMBOURG

 

Draft Convention on Europol

No final agreement was reached, due to continuing dispute over the possible jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Differences persisted, namely with regard to preliminary rulings by the Court. The Ministers, however, agreed to all specific provisions in the Convention

 

Customs Information System Convention

No final agreement was reached, due to the problem of jurisdiction by the ECJ.

 

Convention for the protection of the financial interest of the EC

Differences remain with respect to the type of information exchanged between the member states or between the member states and the Commission. Due to persistent British opposition, no agreement was reached over the role of the ECJ.

 

External Borders Convention

The Council noted "that some progress had been achieved", but the Convention is blocked due to the dispute between Spain and Britain on the status of Gibraltar.

 

Visa requirements for third country nationals

The ministers noted "difficulties" in setting up a common list of countries whose nationals are subject to a visa obligation. The "difficulties" arose because of Italy's veto against including the FRY (Serbia and Montenegro) on the common list as demanded by "numerous countries" [i.e. Germany and some others]. The decision on including a third country on the above list must be taken by unanimity until 1 January 1996. After this date, qualified majority will suffice.

 

Burden sharing

The Council adopted a Resolution on burden sharing in the event of sudden massive influx of displaced persons in need of temporary protection. The Resolution, however, fails to specify objective criteria that would be used to establish the form and extent of the contribution of each member state in handling massive influxes. One point explicitly states that the (very vague) burden sharing procedures named in the resolution do not apply to displaced persons who have been received by various member states before the adoption of the resolution.

Obviously aware of the non-binding character of the resolution, the Council added a Conclusion calling for complementary work to enable the European Union to cope efficiently with crisis situations.

 

Convention on extraditions

The Council discussed aspects such as the extradition of own nationals by member states, and the possibility of refusing extradition in political cases. Regarding the extradition of own nationals, the Council noted that the draft Convention took account to a large extent of the concerns expressed by the delegations.

 

Minimum guarantees for asylum procedures

The Council formally adopted a Resolution on minimum guarantees already approved at the Council's Brussels meeting in March.

 

Organised crime - protection of witnesses

The Council approved a resolution that will be formally adopted at the next JHA meeting.

Nothing is said in the official press release on the Luxembourg meeting about the Draft Council Recommendation on harmonizing means of combating illegal immigration. The Recommendation appeared on the agenda of the meeting (see article below) on the list of so-called "A" items, i.e. items approved by the COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives of the European Council) and submitted to the Ministers for adoption without debate.

 

Sources: JHA Council, 1859th session, Press Release 8133/95 (Presse 194), in French; JHA Council: List of "A" items, Brussels 16.6.95, 8175/95; AFP, 21.6.95.