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Meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, Day 2: common position on counterterrorism directive

During the second day of the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, EU ministers agreed to adopt a common position on a new Directive on Terrorism. The directive will make preparatory acts a criminal offence. These include following a terrorist training programme or leaving the country to take part in terrorism. The directive will also make it a criminal offence to assist with preparatory acts or finance terrorism. The directive will improve the position of terrorism victims too, by making professional psychosocial assistance available, for example.

Photographer: Adam Ferguson/collectie Hollandse Hoogte

Making progress in counterterrorism

Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur is pleased with the progress achieved. ‘I’m delighted that today, on the European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism, we have joined together to fight new types of terrorism and the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters,’ he said.

Negotiations on the directive’s implementation

Immediately after the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015, the European Commission asked for concrete results as soon as possible. In light of today’s outcome, the Netherlands – during its EU Presidency – will begin negotiations with the European Parliament on implementing the new legislation. During the Council meeting, the ministers also discussed certain aspects of the EU Firearms Directive. These included the minimum age for firearms possession, the online sale of firearms and medical tests for the authorisation to acquire and possess firearms. The Council is expected to reach agreement on the directive in June.

Simpler rules for buying and selling digital products

The Council also discussed proposals concerning the Digital Single Market Strategy. New rules will make it easier to buy and sell digital products like software, music, apps and films. This will give consumers EU-wide legal certainty and make it easier for businesses to sell digital products and services in other member states.

European Public Prosecutor’s Office

Finally, the ministers discussed the proposed regulation on the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The Office’s objective would be to tackle offences affecting the EU’s financial interests. The discussions included the EPPO’s financial and staffing requirements.