On 8 December, Interior Minister Kristaps Eklon attended the meeting of the European Union (EU) Council of Justice and Interior Ministers in Brussels. One of the central topics on the agenda of the meeting was the need to agree on the entry of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia into the Schengen area. Noting that the mentioned countries fulfilled all the conditions, Latvia expressed its support for their admission to Schengen.
Ministers also discussed enhancing cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin and the effective return of third-country nationals who do not have a legal right to stay in the EU. Until now, Latvia has also always emphasized that the main emphasis should be on the most effective use and improvement of existing forms of cooperation, as well as on developing cooperation with migrants in destination, transit and origin countries, in order to order to stop and prevent illegal migratory flows as much as possible.
During the meeting, the Czech presidency also briefed on the ongoing work on the migration pact and further measures to be taken, as well as the state of play of the discussions on the proposal for a regulation on resolving situations of exploitation in the field of migration and asylum.
The question of Russian aggression in Ukraine does not lose its relevance on the agenda. Consequently, also at this meeting, ministers continued their discussions on the situation of Ukrainian war refugees in the EU and internal security issues. Taking into account the current crisis management challenges, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia invited the European Commission and the Presidency in a joint letter to consider organizing a special meeting at ministerial level, which would be devoted to discussions on the role of civil protection to overcome the current risks and further strengthen the EU’s common resilience to crises.
The Presidency briefed ministers on the state of play of discussions on the proposal formulated by the European Commission on 11 May this year for the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules for preventing and combating sexual violence against minors , whose main objective is to introduce clear and uniform EU rules for preventing and combating sexual violence against children, in particular by clarifying the role and responsibility of online service providers. The proposed regulation obliges online service providers to detect, report, remove and block known and new child sexual abuse material.