Home affairs ministers are expected to focus mainly on security issues.They will exchange views on cooperation with the Western Balkans, in light of the new strategy for the region presented by the European Commission on 6 February. They will address the specific measures outlined in the strategy regarding cooperation on security and migration. This discussion will feed into the preparations of the EU-Western Balkans summit, which will take place in Sofia on 17 May.
Home affairs ministers will also review the regulations proposed by the Commission on the interoperability between EU information systems. The legislative proposals include new measures to improve the interoperability of EU databases, such as a single-search portal and shared biometric matching service.
Ministers are expected to discuss the current contributions of EU agencies to the fight against terrorism and the way forward. Over lunch, ministers will have a discussion on terrorist content online.
The Council is also expected to discuss the state of play on migration. They will focus on the implementation of existing migration policies areas as well as areas where further work may be needed.
The actions taken by the EU and member states in 2017 to protect the external borders and to manage migration flows resulted in tangible results. In 2017, the number of irregular border crossing into the EU was 60% lower than in 2016.
Justice ministers will discuss the so-called non-cash fraud directive. The directive aims to update and adapt the existing rules in light of the new challenges and technological developments, such as mobile payments and virtual currencies.
The Council will also discuss the Brussels II regulation. This is a set of rules that helps international couples resolve disputes over their divorce or the custody of their children across different EU member states.
In addition, ministers will exchange views on improving cross-border access to e-evidence, pending the presentation by the European Commission of a draft legislation.
Finally, ministers will be briefed on the state of play in the implementation of the European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO). The EPPO regulation was adopted at the end of last year. It will bring together European and national law-enforcement efforts to counter EU fraud. So far, 20 member states have formally joined the enhanced cooperation.