Action plan on the Stockholm Programme
This action plan provides a roadmap for the implementation of political priorities set out in the Stockholm Programme for the area of justice, freedom and security between 2010-14.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 April 2010 – Delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe’s citizens – Action Plan Implementing the Stockholm Programme [COM(2010) 171 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The European Union’s (EU) priorities for developing an area of justice, freedom and security during the period 2010-14 are set out in the Stockholm Programme. This action plan aims to deliver those priorities as well as to prepare for future challenges both at European and global level.
Europe of rights
The action plan provides for measures to ensure the protection of fundamental rights. These consist of reinforcing data protection law through a new comprehensive legal framework, as well as of incorporating data protection into all EU policies, law enforcement, crime prevention and international relations. Actions are also intended to fight against all forms of discrimination, racism, xenophobia and homophobia. Particular attention is given to protecting the rights of the child and vulnerable groups, including victims of crime and terrorism. For the protection of the latter, the Commission will propose a comprehensive instrument and practical measures, including a European Protection Order. The Commission will also make legislative proposals regarding the rights of individuals in criminal proceedings and actions relating to detention. Furthermore, the action plan provides for measures to empower European citizens, in particular as regards the right to free movement, protection in non-EU countries and civic participation.
Europe of justice
In order to strengthen the European judicial area, the action plan sets out measures to further implement the principle of mutual recognition. This includes legislative proposals on obtaining and gathering of evidence, disqualifications and financial penalties in criminal matters. The Commission also intends to propose new legislation on civil matters, such as relating to divorce, and revise the regulation concerning judgements in civil and commercial matters. For the principle of mutual recognition to function effectively, the Commission will take actions to strengthen mutual trust. To this end, actions to develop common minimum standards in both criminal and civil law will also be proposed. In addition, for citizens to better benefit from the European judicial area, the Commission will propose actions to facilitate access to justice, especially in terms of legislation relating to civil status documents, and to support economic activity, such as legislative proposals on the enforcement of judgements. At the same time, the Commission intends to increase the EU’s international presence in the field of civil and criminal law, mainly through the negotiation of agreements and conventions with non-EU countries.
Europe that protects
To better protect citizens and tackle cross-border crime, the action plan provides for the drafting of an internal security strategy. The Commission also aims to improve the existing security tools, in particular those relating to the management of information flows, as well as to propose the take up of technological security tools, such as a European register of convicted non-EU nationals. In addition, the action plan provides for improved policies to fight cross-border crime, mainly better cooperation in European law enforcement, including between the European Police Office, Eurojust and the European external borders agency (Frontex), as well as better crime prevention. In order to protect against serious and organised crime, the action plan also provides for specific measures to fight crime, including legislative proposals on:
- trafficking in human beings;
- sexual exploitation of children and child pornography;
- cyber-crime and network information security;
- economic crime and corruption;
The Commission also intends to reinforce the EU’s capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, both man-made and natural. To this end, the action plan provides for measures that complement and improve EU disaster management.
Access to Europe
The Commission will take actions to further develop the integrated approach to managing the EU’s external borders. These include legislative proposals to modify Frontex, the Schengen Borders Code and the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur). The Commission will also propose the setting up of an Entry Exit System (EES) and a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP). Furthermore, the Commission will continue with visa liberalisation by negotiating Visa Facilitation Agreements with non-EU countries, as well as with the launch of the Visa Information System (VIS).
Europe of solidarity
The Commission intends to pursue a dynamic and comprehensive immigration policy, which will consist of actions that:
- further develop the EU Global Approach to Migration to increase cooperation with non-EU countries;
- support migration to fulfil the needs of the EU countries’ labour-markets;
- promote the integration and the rights of migrants;
- tackle illegal migration through readmission agreements and return policies;
- take into account the situation of unaccompanied minors.
The Commission also aims to pursue a common asylum policy to establish a common area of protection for asylum seekers through the sharing of responsibility by EU countries. The action plan also provides for a strengthened external dimension through cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the development of the EU Resettlement Programme as well as of new regional protection programmes.
Europe in a globalised world
The action plan reiterates the interconnection between the internal and external dimension of justice, freedom and security policies. Consequently, it provides for actions that reinforce the external dimension, in particular for better cooperation and information sharing between EU countries. In addition, the Commission aims at taking into account the external dimension in its relations with non-EU countries, including in a variety of agreements and partnership arrangements. The action plan also provides for continued support for the Council of Europe conventions on trafficking in human beings, data protection, protection of children, cybercrime and corruption, as well as for the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
The way forward
In order to transform the political priorities established by the Stockholm Programme into concrete actions and results, the action plan provides measures for:
- evaluating justice, freedom and security policies and mechanisms;
- training legal and security professionals as well as judicial and law enforcement authorities;
- public awareness-raising activities;
- dialogue with civil society;
- new financial programmes.