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The European Union General Affairs Council prepared for the European Council


15. December 2015 - 21:57

Today's European Union General Affairs Council in Brussels prepared for the December European Council set for December 17 and 18. According to the Ambassador of the Permanent Representatiion Matti Maasikas, who represented Estonia at the meeting, the Council this week will focus on migration issues and the fight against terrorism. On the agenda is the first discussion of the heads of state regarding the UKs EU membership referendum and reform schedule.

Estonia's permanent representative to the EU Matti Maasikas said that in an effort to find a solution to the migration crisis the European Union has developed action plans and adopted decisions over the past few months, the actual implementation of which must now be stepped up. "Maintaining the Schengen system is important for everyone and the European Union is struggling hard to do what is necessary," Ambassador Maasikas said. According to Matti Maasikas, it is important to focus on the introduction of Schengen external border controls and for initial reception centres to become operational. Cooperation with third countries, especially Turkey, is also of great importance. At the Council, heads of state will also have the opportunity to give their first estimates of the proposals by the European Commission today to solve the migration crisis, including the creation of a new EU border control agency.

On the topic of the fight against terrorism, Ambassador Matti Maasikas has said that one issue which needs to be solved quicky is how to improve the exchange of information between Member States, as well as between various security institutions. Matti Maasikas said that in discussions on the topic, Estonia has always stressed the necessity of functioning databases, which law enforcement agencies would be guaranteed access to and in which data would be able to be cross-checked. The European Commission has promised to submit an ammended proposal on e-borders, which due to support from Estonia was included as a note to the draft of the Council's conclusions, similarly to the necessity to implement a reservation information (PNR) system for flights within the EU. Maasikas said discussions surrounding the Commission's perhaps slightly rushed proposal on banning high-powered semi-automatic weapons will continue.

Other topics to be discussed at the Council will be issues surrounding the European Union's internal market and the energy union, as well as the future of the economic and financial union.

Additional information:
Marika Post
Press Spokesperson, Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU.
+32 474 98 16 57

(+372) 637 7629
(+372) 56675362  


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