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Justice and Home Affairs

Karin Gastinger
Federal Minister of Justice

Liese Prokop
Federal Minister of the Interior
The Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) brings together the Justice and Interior Ministers; it meets approximately every two months to discuss the development and implementation of cooperation and common measures in this area. The creation of an area of freedom, security and justice is one of the key aims of the EU Treaty. Most issues in this area are decided by unanimity, with consultation of the European Parliament. However, some matters (visas and judicial cooperation in civil matters) are decided by qualified majority, whereby the European Parliament is consulted or has codecision powers, depending on the subject area.

The Council’s tasks encompass:

  • Free movement of persons
  • Visa policy
  • External affairs management
  • Immigration
  • Asylum
  • Coordination of policy on drugs
  • EU citizenship
  • Data protection
  • Fundamental rights
  • Racism and xenophobia
  • Cooperation between law courts, police forces and customs authorities
  • Fight against organised crime
  • Terrorism
  • Implementation and further development of the Schengen acquis
  • Judicial cooperation in civil and trade matters
  • Judicial cooperation in criminal matters
  • External relations

The citizens of Europe expect the European Union to provide effective measures to guarantee their security and, in so doing, safeguard the fundamental rights and civil liberties of the individual. Today, most challenges to security within the European Union are international problems. Member States therefore work closely together and also with non-member countries in order to counter threats such as organised crime, corruption, terrorism and illegal migration as effectively as possible and to secure the EU’s external borders.



Austrian activities during the EU Presidency 

The Hague programme and the action plan for its implementation submitted by the European Commission in June 2005 form the basis for the work to be performed during the Austrian Presidency.

Austria’s priorities in the areas of justice and home affairs and in the related area of external relations are as follows:

  • Judicial cooperation in civil matters
  • Judicial cooperation in criminal matters
  • Implementation of the external strategy in the area of justice and home affairs
  • Fight against organised crime and corruption
  • Fight against terrorism
  • Implementation of the Schengen agreement in the new Member States
  • Asylum, migration and border management
  • Crisis and disaster management

More information on the Austrian Presidency Programme in the Justice and Home Affairs Council:


Date: 31.03.2006