Photo: European Union
EU interior ministers focused on a series of security-related issues at their Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on 8 March. The discussions, which covered cooperation with the Western Balkans and collaboration between the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs agencies and the missions and operations under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), among other topics, were led by Bulgaria’s Minister for the Interior, Mr Valentin Radev.
Cooperation with the Western Balkans in the area of security and counter-terrorism is of particular importance for the Bulgarian Presidency, because the European perspective of the Western Balkans is one of the Presidency’s key priorities.
Security and stability in the Western Balkans have a direct impact on security in the EU as a whole. During their discussions, the interior ministers of the member states agreed that they should make further efforts are needed to enhance cooperation within and with the region with the aim of achieving better results.
The conclusions of this discussion will feed into the upcoming EU-Western Balkans Summit, which will take place in Sofia on 17 May.
Another topic discussed was a pilot project that aims to establish cooperation between the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs agencies and the missions and operations under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Ministers gave their political support to the proposed project, which would involve setting up a crime information cell in EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA.
Ministers also appointed Ms Catherine De Bolle as the next Executive Director of Europol. She is to take up the position as of May 2018, when the term of her predecessor Rob Wainwright expires. Ms Catherine De Bolle will be the first woman to lead Europol.
"It is symbolic that this appointment takes place on 8 March, the International Women’s Day. This is a day that marks the efforts of generations of women to gain equal rights with men. The fact that a woman has proven herself as the best candidate for such a responsible position shows that the efforts of these women have borne fruit,"
Minister Radev said at the press conference following the event, which he gave together with Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, in charge of Migration and Home Affairs.
More details about the meeting are available here.
Pictures and videos are available here.