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Belarus situation one of the topics to be discussed by home affairs ministers 

Ministry of the Interior
9.12.2021 8.41
The EU flag.

EU home affairs ministers will gather in Brussels on 9 December for a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council. Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen will represent Finland at the meeting. The ministers will discuss matters such as the tense situation at the external borders with Belarus and how the EU can respond to attempts to use migration as a policy instrument and even as a tool for hybrid attacks. 

“The instrumentalisation of migrants for political purposes must be strongly condemned. It underlines the importance of a common, well-functioning EU migration and asylum policy that respects human dignity. It is therefore important that we act in a united manner and show that we do not accept this kind of action. We need a wide range of countermeasures and a clearer legislative framework at the EU level,” says Minister Mikkonen.

On 1 December, the European Commission proposed temporary measures for improving how the Member States affected by Belarus’s actions can operate in the emergency situation. The Commission’s overall solution will be complemented by a proposal for amending the Schengen Borders Code.

“The Commission’s proposal for temporary measures does not restrict the right to apply for asylum, but provides the authorities of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania with tools for the situation after the application has been filed. The proposal is now being carefully examined in Finland,” Mikkonen says. 

Concerns about EU recovery funds falling into the hands of criminals

The Council will also discuss how to prevent organised crime from infiltrating into legal business activities. There is a particular concern that EU recovery funds will be used for criminal purposes. 
Home affairs ministers will consider whether there is a need for a more coordinated EU-level approach to prevent infiltration by organised crime into legal structures.

New regulation to improve resilience of critical entities

At the meeting, the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU will report on the negotiations regarding the proposal for a Directive on the resilience of critical entities, on which the Council’s general approach was reached just before the meeting.

Finland considers the comprehensive development of the EU’s crisis resilience to be of key importance. It is particularly important to promote the physical and digital resilience of critical entities in EU Member States with harmonised procedures. This will also improve the EU’s preparedness for hybrid threats.

Fight against child sexual abuse on the agenda of the Internet Forum

Minister Mikkonen also attended the EU Internet Forum on 8 December. The Forum is a collaboration of the EU and the technology industry, founded in 2015 to allow technology companies, EU institutions, EU ministers and Europol to discuss together the elimination of terrorist content online.

The topics of the Internet Forum included emerging challenges in removing terrorist content online and fighting online child sexual abuse.

Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 40 720 2216, [email protected] 
Tiina Kivinen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 566 19 22, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mikkonen)

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