Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting
On 23 June 2022, the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union hosted the EU-U.S. Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs in Paris. The United States was represented by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. The European Union was represented by the Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas and by Commissioners for Justice Didier Reynders and for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, as well as the French Ministers for Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti and for Home Affairs Gérald Darmanin, on behalf of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The incoming Presidency of the Council was represented by the Czech Minister for Justice Pavel Blažek. The meeting was also attended by Europol’s Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, Eurojust’s President Ladislav Hamran, the EEAS, and representatives of the U.S. Department of State.
The meeting in Paris was an opportunity to reaffirm that the European Union and the United States stand united in firmly condemning Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against on Ukraine. The two sides reiterated their full solidarity and support for Ukraine’s defence of a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future.
The European Union and the United States concurred that close cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs is crucial to face the major challenges of this war. The two sides will spare no effort to pursue full accountability, in accordance with applicable national and international law, for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other atrocities and crimes committed in the context of the war. The EU and the U.S. welcome and support the ongoing work to investigate and gather evidence in this respect, including by the Ukrainian competent authorities, as well as the Joint Investigation Team set up by the competent authorities of some European Union Member States and Ukraine, in which the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is participating. The two sides stressed the important role of support by Eurojust and Europol.
The European Union and the United States will continue to work together to coordinate sanctions against the architects and accomplices of this unprovoked attack on a peaceful country. The packages of sanctions are having a significant impact and will intensify pressure on Russia over time. The EU and the U.S. will 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 freeze and confiscate assets.
The European Union and the United States also reaffirmed their shared commitment to supporting Ukraine as it takes critical steps with a view to support and defend the rule of law, including by further strengthening the fight against corruption.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe in the heart of Europe. The European Union and the United States reiterated their support for people fleeing the war. The Solidarity Platform set up by the Commission helps to coordinate joint actions. Reaffirming their engagement as recently expressed by the EU-US Migration Platform on 7 June, the EU and the U.S. highlighted the importance of joint global support for Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people.
The European Union and the United States reiterated their commitment to face security threats stemming from the war. The two sides committed to exchange information linked to threats of serious and organised crime tied to the war, such as trafficking in human beings and firearms smuggling, as well as any participation by violent extremists. The EU and the U.S. are prepared to address cyber threats related to Russian aggression, including potentially disruptive activities from Government affiliated and criminal actors in the region and will continue supporting Ukraine in defending its networks against cyber incidents and will continue to counter the Russian strategy of disinformation.
The European Union and the United States welcomed the creation of an EU-U.S. Expert Group on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and Extradition. This group will discuss extradition and mutual legal assistance between the United States and EU Member States and the functioning of the EU-US Agreements on MLA and Extradition.
The United States and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to prevent and combat terrorism and to continue working together to address and combat existing and emerging threats. The U.S. and the EU expressed concern with the rise of violent extremism, as well as other crimes motivated by hate, racism, and xenophobia. They stressed their willingness to work jointly to identify and prevent transnational links between extremist groups.
The United States and the European Union reiterated their mutual commitment to exchange Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to secure the safety of their citizens while protecting the privacy of travellers. They will continue to work together in a constructive way on the findings and recommendations of the joint evaluation of the U.S.-EU PNR Agreement. Both sides highlighted the importance of PNR data processing as a key instrument to prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute terrorism and combat serious crime, including child exploitation. They further reaffirmed their intention to work together to uphold and promote high standards for the global use of PNR data, including in the context of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The European Union and the United States are determined to work together in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting all forms of cybercrime. As part of this work, the EU and the U.S. will continue to exchange best practices and explore ways to enhance cooperation in the fight against child sexual abuse online, and ransomware, involving all relevant stakeholders. The EU and the U.S. reconfirmed their commitment to consult each other and to cooperate closely in the negotiations in the United Nations in order to arrive at an international legal instrument on cybercrime that is universally acceptable, and that will facilitate effective cooperation in the fight against cybercrime while providing a high level of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The European Union and the United States committed to further strengthen cooperation against environmental crime, including by cooperating to hold accountable persons who commit and profit from environmental crime. The two sides will step up their efforts to promote effective investigations and prosecutions of crimes affecting the environment, notably those with a cross-border nature such as those involving pollution in the maritime environment, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and wildlife trafficking. The EU and the U.S. acknowledged the important supporting roles played by Eurojust and Europol. Furthermore, the EU and the U.S. regret that since the start of the war, Russian forces have hit chemical plants, oil depots, water facilities and nuclear power plants as well as fields, forests and wildlife reserves.
The European Union and the United States concurred on the importance of reciprocal visa-free travel under their respective legal frameworks. The two sides welcomed the progress made by the three EU Member States that have not yet been designated to the Visa Waiver Program and reiterated their willingness to pursue efforts in the context of the tripartite process and bilateral discussions.
Finally, the European Union and the United States decided to meet again in the second half of 2022 in Washington D.C.