This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 7 July 2011 by Theresa May, and in the House of Lords by Baroness Browning.
The informal G6 group of Ministers of the Interior from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK held their most recent meeting in Madrid, Spain on 30 June under the Spanish Presidency of the group. The meeting was chaired by the Spanish Minister for the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.
The meeting was divided into two working sessions which were attended by the G6 Ministers of the Interior. Germany and Italy were represented at Ambassadorial and junior minister level respectively. Additional guests included the US Deputy Attorney General, James Cole; the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano; European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove.
The first working session considered the transnational threats of Africa’s Sahel region, including the strengthening of terrorist groups, notably Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), and drugs, arms and people trafficking. Delegates agreed on the significance and nature of the threat and the security implications for the EU and the US, and recognised the importance of coordinated international action and increased capacity building in the countries of the region. There was wide concern about the negative impact of recent upheaval in North Africa and, above all, the conflict in Libya. The Home Secretary also underlined that the payment of kidnap ransoms was against international law and served to bolster terrorist and criminal groups. It was agreed that the election of the new President in Niger and the improvement in relations between countries in the region, notably between Algeria and Mali, was encouraging. There was
seen to be a window of opportunity to put the EU Sahel Strategy into action and to improve dialogue with the UN and the African Union.
The second session focused on the recovery of criminal assets. Ministers discussed both improvements in and ongoing difficulties associated with recovering the proceeds of crime. The Home Secretary outlined some of the UK’s successes in this area, announcing that it had impacted on over £1 billion of criminal assets in 2010 and that the National Crime Agency (to be launched in 2013) would play a key role in tackling money laundering and recovering the proceeds of crime through its Economic Crime Command. The US underlined the importance of keeping legislative frameworks and processes up to date with ever changing money laundering methods. Delegates agreed that greater international cooperation and better use of the tools and powers available in
the pursuit of criminal profits were essential, but that secure channels had to be used for the exchange of sensitive information.
In addition to the two plenary sessions, the Poles presented their justice and home affairs priorities for their EU Presidency and the French presented plans for their G6 Presidency, both of which would commence the following day (1 July).
The Home Secretary also held separate bilateral meetings with the other heads of delegation to discuss a range of issues including extradition, North Africa, asylum, migration, counter-terrorism, aviation security, Passenger Name Records (PNR) and the Data Retention Directive.
The next meeting of the G6 is expected to be held in France in November or December.
Thursday, 7 July 2011
Date: Tue Jun 14 10:37:17 BST 2011