"The recent terrorist-attacks in France, the necessary counter-terrorism measures taken in Belgium and the growing threat posed by foreign fighters sends a clear message that counter-terrorism efforts have to be reinforced at national and EU level," indicated the Latvian Minister for the Interior, Rihards Kozlovskis.
The discussions in the Informal Council Meeting were based on a Presidency discussion paper that defined further steps of the EU action. The discussion paper covered areas of prevention of radicalisation, in particular on the internet and social media, information sharing among relevant services, identification of travel routes of suspected terrorists, the need for an efficient EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) system, and the tracking and limiting of access to firearms.
"The Ministers for Home Affairs and the Ministers for Justice, have a first line responsibility in ensuring the safety of our citizens. Our actions must continue to be part of a comprehensive approach that includes the various actions in different policies, including in the area of transport, finance, information technologies and in relations with third countries," said Kozlovskis.
The Ministers had a thorough debate on a number of counter-terrorism issues and adopted the Riga Joint Statement on Counter-Terrorism.
The Presidency will ensure that work on the issues discussed during this informal ministerial meeting as well as on other measures is taken forward at EU level in the appropriate fora and including all relevant stakeholders. The discussions will also serve as an input for JHA Ministers to the discussion with the Heads of State and Government on 12 February 2015.
As has been reported before, the Latvian Presidency adjusted the agenda of the Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga to dedicate more discussions to the fight against terrorism. The judicial aspects of fighting terrorisms will also be discussed among the Ministers for Justice on the second day of the informal JHA Council Meeting.
Discussions at the informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 and 30 January 2015 were based on the Paris statement on 11 January 2015, which has gained broad support by the Member States over the past two weeks.