Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council on Freedom, Security and Justice
The twelfth meeting of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council (PPC) on Freedom, Security and Justice was held in Kazan on 25-26 May 2010.
The Russian Federation was represented at the meeting by Alexander Konovalov, Special Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation for cooperation with the European Union in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice, Minister of Justice, and Rashid Nurgaliev, Minister of Interior.
The European Union was represented by Mr Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, Minister of the Interior of Spain, Mr Francisco Caamaño Dominguez, Minister of Justice of Spain, and Ms Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner Responsible for Home Affairs. The meeting was also attended by Mr Stefaan De Clerck, Minister of Justice of Belgium, Mr Melchior Wathelet, State Secretary for Asylum and Migration of Belgium, and Ms Judit Fazekas-Lévay, State Secretary for EU affairs, Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement of Hungary.
The participants discussed the progress in implementation of the Russia-EU Roadmap on the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice and identified priority areas where the Parties shall improve cooperation for the benefit of Russian and EU citizens.
Underlining the importance of respecting the overarching principles for the Common Space that provides a framework for closer cooperation, the participants highlighted the need to achieve concrete and tangible results in their cooperation for the benefit of citizens on both sides.
Confirming the importance of further promotion of people to people contacts, the parties expressed their overall satisfaction with the implementation of the Russia-EU visa facilitation agreement, welcomed the suggestions of the Joint Visa Facilitation Committee, which works in a constructive atmosphere, on possible modifications and additions to the agreement and lent their support to the forthcoming constructive negotiations. With the aim of creating conditions for simplified travels of the residents of the border areas of the Russian Federation and EU Member States, the Parties looked forward to negotiating and concluding local border traffic agreements between the Russian Federation and interested neighbouring EU Member States.
The participants appraised the work performed by the experts within the Visa Dialogue. They tasked the Senior Officials to convene to discuss how to move to a practical phase and to report back to the next PPC.
The Parties reconfirmed their interest in an enhanced Russia-EU dialogue on all migration-related issues on the basis of modalities to be agreed by the Parties. The participants noted that migration is a global phenomenon that requires a global response. They stressed the importance of launching and developing the dialogue, in a spirit of partnership and mutual understanding, on migration and migration related issues. The participants emphasised that this dialogue should cover migration in all its dimensions, for example promotion of legal migration, management of migratory flows, fight against irregular migration, international protection, migration and development or integration, and launched before the next PPC.
The Parties expressed overall satisfaction with the implementation of the Russia-EU readmission agreement while stressing the importance to continue efforts, through the constructive work in the Joint Readmission Committee. The Parties took note that the readmission procedures will be applicable to third country nationals from 1 June 2010 and urged the conclusion as early as possible of implementing protocols to this agreement.
The participants decided to consider all possibilities of further border cooperation, in particular strengthen cooperation between the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the EU Member States (FRONTEX). In this regard the agencies were encouraged to prepare an enhanced Cooperation plan by the next PPC meeting.
In order to develop infrastructure on the common border between Russia and the EU Member States, the Parties welcomed establishment of contacts between Rosgranitsa and appropriate structures within the EU.
The participants underlined the importance to jointly address the global problem of narcotic drugs, particularly those originating from Afghanistan, which poses a serious threat to international peace and security. They took note of the presentation of a Russian initiative aimed at fighting illicit drugs from Afghanistan. The Parties entrusted experts to study possibilities to develop various forms of EU-Russia cooperation in combating illicit drugs. They also looked forward to constructive continuation of the ongoing negotiations on a Russia-EU agreement on drug precursors control.
The Parties expressed their satisfaction with the Russia-Europol cooperation and supported its further development in order to efficiently fight against transnational organised crime and terrorism. For this purpose they looked forward to the negotiations as soon as possible on an operational agreement between the Russian Federation and Europol while ensuring an adequate level of protection of personal data for enhanced cooperation.
The Parties agreed to intensify common efforts in the fight against terrorism, including terrorist financing, and to increase their understanding about processes of radicalisation and recruitment. In that context, they tasked their experts to meet in order to enhance cooperation including in the fields of document security, cyber security and border management, as well as to continue informing each other about the developments in the area of critical infrastructure protection.
The participants reconfirmed their commitment to combat trafficking in human beings and declared the necessity to strengthen their efforts.
Russia and the EU stressed the importance of joint efforts in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters and agreed to intensify negotiations on a cooperation agreement between Russia and Eurojust. They also supported the idea of setting up a Russia-Eurojust working group for the purpose of addressing existing problems in this field.
The participants agreed to continue examination of all possibilities to strengthen judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters.
The Parties also reviewed the outcomes of joint meetings on protection of witnesses and of the existing mutually beneficial cooperation of Europol and EU Member States' liaison officers with Russian law enforcement authorities. The participants agreed to continue exchange of views at different levels on a wide range of topical issues within the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice. They entrusted experts to organise a meeting on combating corruption in the second half 2010.
The incoming Belgian EU Presidency briefed on its priorities and confirmed its intention to further develop constructive cooperation between the EU and Russia in the field of freedom, security and justice. The participants agreed to hold the next, thirteenth meeting of the Russia-EU PPC on Freedom, Security and Justice in the second half of 2010 in Belgium.