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The objectives of the area of freedom, security and justice are laid down in Article 67 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:
- the Union shall ensure the absence of internal border controls for persons and shall frame a common policy on asylum, immigration and external border control, based on solidarity between Member States, which is fair towards third-country nationals;
- the Union shall endeavour to ensure a high level of security through measures to prevent and combat crime, racism and xenophobia, and through measures for coordination and cooperation between police and judicial authorities;
- the Union shall facilitate access to justice, in particular through the principle of mutual recognition of judicial and extrajudicial decisions in civil matters.
Objectives for Belgium
Free movement and security
Successive crises, including the migration crisis of 2013, the terrorist attacks in 2015-2016 and the COVID-19 pandemic, have put the Schengen area under considerable pressure. With its open economy and central geographic location, Belgium has always been one of the main proponents of the integrity of this area of freedom. Belgium therefore makes efforts to make the Schengen area more resilient to future crises.
Our country also advocates a protective and secure Europe. Although security is often still a national competence, security structures and the European legal framework have been substantially reinforced over the last 20 years. Our country believes that closer international cooperation between the police and judicial authorities is essential to tackle cross-border crime. The same goes for access to the necessary instruments or powers to deal with the latest technological developments, or new threats.
Tackling terrorism also demands an EU-level approach. Belgium welcomes the EU Security Union Strategy for the period 2020-2025, in which the counterterrorism agenda constitutes an important part. This agenda contains four pillars to help member states combat the terrorist threat: anticipate, prevent, protect and respond.
Justice and the rule of law
Our country continually works to promote a genuine common European area of justice based on trust, mobility and sustainable growth. Despite the recent progress made in the area of cross-border enforcement of decisions in civil and commercial matters, further work on the principle of mutual recognition is called for.
In turn, promoting the rule of law and human rights is a cornerstone of our foreign policy. Moreover, our country is permanently alert to good governance, gender equality and equal opportunities, and both child and LGBTQIA+ rights.
Within the Union, Belgium is actively committed to strengthening the instruments to protect the rule of law, and supports the Commission in its efforts to develop a mechanism to monitor the rule of law in member states.
Asylum and Migration
In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new Pact on Migration and Asylum. By seeking to provide a comprehensive approach to migration, the Pact aims to restart negotiations on the reform of the Common European Asylum System.
The adoption of the most recent legislative texts of this Pact and its implementation, which moreover is the best guarantee of respect for fundamental rights and in particular the right to seek asylum, is a priority.
In our view, striking the right balance between solidarity and responsibility, and managing migratory flows humanely and efficiently, are particularly important. Building holistic, sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships with the countries of origin and transit, and tackling the smuggling networks, are also priorities.
Finally, pending the adoption and implementation of the Pact, we believe that it is essential to ensure that the existing acquis is also implemented.