28 October 2009
Ministry of Justice
USA and EU agree on future cooperation on justice and home affairs
During the meeting held today between the EU and the USA in Washington, the parties adopted a statement on the development of future cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs.
The EU was represented at the meeting by Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask and Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy Tobias Billström, together with Vice President of the European Commission Jacques Barrot. The United States was represented by Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute. Together they presented the Washington Statement at a press briefing at House of Sweden.
The Washington Statement establishes a common will to deepen cooperation between the USA and the EU for strengthened freedom, security and justice. The Washington Statement is intended to apply to cooperation for the next five years, the same period as that of the Stockholm Programme.
It contains a wish to simplify travel and trade between the EU and the USA. The parties also intend to improve the dialogue on asylum and migration.
The EU and the USA intend to continue their cooperation to fight gross cross-border crime, particularly regarding human trafficking and smuggling, the sexual exploitation of children and drugs crime. The parties emphasised the importance of cooperation between each other's law enforcement agencies.
The EU and the USA are also agreed in their cooperation to respect the rights and private lives of individuals and to strengthen the protection of personal data on each other's citizens.
"We are establishing a joint ambition to continue our cooperation to fight gross international crime. That's important. But equally important is that we are agreed on strengthening the protection of the rights of the individual. For the EU, this has been the most important issue in the negotiations," says Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask.
"It is important that the EU and the USA continue with their cooperation and intensify it with regard to migration issues, particularly when it comes to the exchange of knowledge and information. The Statement will provide good conditions for this," says Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy Tobias Billström.
More in-depth discussions were also held at the meeting on cooperation to combat trafficking in human beings, particularly with regard to the exploitation of children, strengthened security for personal data and visa issues. Instruments of ratification were also exchanged for agreements between the EU and the USA on extradition and legal assistance in criminal cases, which means that the agreements will now enter into force.
Press Secretary to Beatrice Ask
Press Secretary to Tobias Billström