|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.5, 1.2.01, p8|
Justice ministers will meet next week to discuss an overhaul of the way EU crime and migration laws are agreed amid increasing signs that current procedures are over-burdened and backlogged.
Diplomats say it is looking less likely that they will be able to fulfil the pledges made on justice and home affairs by EU leaders at the Tampere summit in 1999 unless action is taken to streamline the way decisions are made.
"There's a feeling that there is a real risk that we won't meet the deadlines unless we improve the way we work," said one.
In a bid to address the problems the Swedish presidency has called an informal meeting of ministers next Thursday and Friday (1-2 February) to hammer out what exactly is going wrong.
EU insiders say decisions are being held up by member states that continually put forward proposals to suit their own interests, as well as an outdated committee system which is not up to the work load.
"This situation creates overload in parts of the structures, backlogs and, most importantly, a blurred view on which the overriding priorities are," says a Swedish presidency paper.
Under rules laid out in the Amsterdam treaty, and uniquely in Union law, both the Commission and member states have the right to propose new legislation in the justice field.
Insiders say this creates a logjam because each EU government is tabling proposals in the areas where it wants action, leading to an excess of plans that have to be considered and producing a hotchpotch of laws which do not fit together to create a coherent whole.
Without an overall strategic approach, some insiders say, it will be impossible to create the consistent, Union-wide area of freedom, security and justice that heads of state and government promised at Tampere it would take them only five years to set up.
"There are a lot of proposals but also the problem is that many of them are not particularly well put together," said one EU diplomat. "We then have to spend a lot of time sorting out the drafting."
The Swedish argue that these difficulties are compounded by a diplomatic committee structure that was drawn up before Tampere and so is not geared to addressing the key goals set at that summit.
In addition, Stockholm claims, even after the proposed laws have passed through initial negotiations it is difficult for member states to finally approve them because meetings of justice ministers are too cluttered with unimportant reports and relatively insignificant legislation.
"In light of the fact that ministers will meet only twice formally under each presidency, one should ask whether points of information and other similar items are justified on any council agenda," says the presidency paper.
Justice ministers are due to meet to discuss an overhaul of the way EU crime and migration laws are agreed amid increasing signs that current procedures are over-burdened and backlogged. Diplomats say it is looking less likely that they will be able to fulfil the pledges made on justice and home affairs by EU leaders at the Tampere summit in 1999 unless action is taken to streamline the way decisions are made.
|Subject Categories||Justice and Home Affairs|