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Home Affairs

In this area, the Austrian EU Presidency will be working specifically on the following measures in order to implement the priorities:

External strategy

Implementation of the strategy to be adopted under the UK Presidency. The situation in neighbouring countries is of particular importance to security within the EU. Internal and external security are interrelated. The Austrian Presidency will therefore focus on the following points:

  • Bringing countries bordering the EU and West Balkan countries up to EU security standards by means of a comprehensive approach which networks internal security and the European Neighbourhood Policy (Ministerial Conference on the “Role of internal security in relations between the EU and its neighbours”, in Vienna on 4 and 5 May 2006);
  • Formation of a “Partnership for security” with these countries.


Fight against organised crime and corruption

Strengthening the means and operative capabilities to combat organised crime and examining the links between corruption and organised crime. The fight against organised crime requires measures to be taken against corruption. The Austrian Presidency will:

  • Work towards implementing the “principle of availability” (the aim is improved access to information available in other Member States) on the basis of the provisions of the Prüm Agreement (in which Austria, the Benelux countries, Germany, France and Spain have already made such arrangements);
  • Develop a European network against corruption;
  • Promote cooperation with non-member countries to combat corruption;
  • Launch a discussion on the future security architecture, the role of Europol, improved horizontal and operative cooperation, as well as the further development of the European Police Academy.


Fight against terrorism

Improving information exchange and coordination of existing facilities as well as implementing measures to prevent terrorism. Information must be provided swiftly in order to prevent attacks. However, we must also eliminate the root causes of terrorism. Austria will continue the work to implement the action plan against terrorism and, above all, focus on the following points:

  • Improving information exchange at strategic and operative levels; 
  • Better coordination and use of existing structures, for instance, through the work on improved information on the current situation and further developing cooperation among special units (ATLAS Cooperation), particularly with regard to flight attendants;
  • Measures to protect critical infrastructures;
  • Implementation of the strategy against radicalisation and recruitment, in particular through broad dialogue among cultures and religions;
  • Further implementation of the measures to combat the financing of terrorism.


Implementation of the Schengen agreement

Removal of border controls between the new Member States and the countries in Schengen as quickly as possible, while fully maintaining quality standards. The Austrian Presidency intends to:

  • Create the new legal basis for the Schengen Information System II (SIS II is a European database for issuing alerts on persons and property in the Schengen area) and the Visa Information System (VIS will be a new European database for the exchange of visa information between the Member States to support the authorities in decisions on issuing visas, identification and recognition of persons);
  • Promote the completion of VIS and SIS II within the agreed deadline;
  • Carry out evaluation missions not related to SIS II in the new Member States as far as possible;
  • Support the use of VIS for the purposes of criminal prosecution.


Asylum, migration and border management

Work on an EU asylum system, an EU migration policy and integrated external-border management. The Austrian Presidency will assess the legal instruments in place and, in particular, carry out the following projects:

  • Work on a common European asylum system by enhancing practical cooperation between Member States, primarily by improving the exchange of  information on countries of origin and work on a plan for an “EU support team”;
  • Cooperation with non-member countries in asylum and immigration issues, including carrying out pilot projects for protection in the region (Ukraine);
  • Pushing for the introduction of common visa-application offices;
  • Measures for an effective repatriation policy.


Crisis and disaster management

Coordinated cooperation to manage crises and disasters at European and international level. Recent events illustrate the need for a common approach. The Austrian Presidency will:

  • Work towards creating an integrated EU crisis management system (EU ICMA);
  • Support projects for a new legal and financial instrument for civil protection.



Date: 21.12.2005