The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May):
The informal G6 group of Ministers of the Interior from the six largest European Union countries held its most recent meeting in Paris on 6 November 2014. Representatives of the United States of America, Canada, Turkey and the European Commission attended for part of the meeting.
The summit was chaired by the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and I represented the United Kingdom. The other participating States were represented by Jorge Fernández Diaz (Spain), Teresa Piotrowska (Poland), Angelino Alfano (Italy), and Thomas de Maizière (Germany). The USA was represented by Alejandro Mayorkas (Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security) and Eric Holder (US Attorney General). The European Commission was represented by Dimitris Avramopoulos (Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship) and the European Union by Gilles de Kerchove (EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator). In addition to the usual attendees Efkan Ala (Turkey) and Steven Blaney (Canada) were present.
The first session of the day was on priority issues for the next European Parliament. The discussion touched on border checks and the importance of balancing security and liberty but focused mainly on the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive. Delegates agreed on the importance of making quick progress to conclude the PNR Directive.
The lunchtime discussion was on migration flows. The group collectively agreed the importance of implementing the JHA Council conclusions of 10 October covering action in cooperation with third countries; reinforced management of external borders and Frontex; and action at Member States’ level - reception and fingerprinting. The European Commissioner (Avramopoulos) said the implementation of the conclusions would be a priority for the Commission. Conversation in this session also touched on the importance of securing borders and the need for fingerprinting asylum seekers at their point of entry to the EU.
The first session after lunch was titled ‘Radicalisation via the Internet’. Delegates noted the positive progress that had been made following discussions with Internet Service Providers (ISP) and agreed the need for joint working.
The final session of the day was on the issue of foreign fighters. A number of countries reported developments and M. Cazeneuve (France) noted their new legislation which enables them to ban people from leaving the country if they thought they were involved in terrorism by way of withdrawal of their passport and ID card. He concluded by suggesting that all countries would benefit from a power to revoke passports and that it was vital that
information sharing be improved. He noted that there must be progress on PNR and border checks and strengthening of cooperation with Turkey.
In my interventions, I supported the need for an EU PNR Directive which included PNR on intra-EU journeys, supported the JHA Council conclusions of 10 October on future migration policies and set out the action which the UK has taken to tackle the problem of returning foreign fighters.
It was announced at the meeting that the next G6 will take place in Dresden in Germany on the 1st and 2nd June 2015.