The Minister of Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has attended a meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council in Sofia, Bulgaria (25th and 26th January 2018). Bulgaria currently holds the Presidency of the European Council. At the conclusion of the two day meeting, Minister Flanagan welcomed the progress made across a range of issues.

Speaking in relation to discussions on cross border family law, Minister Flanagan said “The steps we are taking to reduce delays in having cross border family law judgments recognised and enforced will have real benefits for children and parents. Our population is becoming more and more mobile and we need to make sure our legal systems are equipped to work efficiently across borders in this new environment.”

“I am pleased that we have moved closer to agreeing the package of measures which will provide for a fairer, more sustainable and efficient Common European Asylum System. The major challenges we have faced in recent years have shown that we need a comprehensive approach that allows us to respond effectively to situations of crisis such as we have seen in recent years. The steps we have agreed at the meeting in Bulgaria bring us closer to the reform of the European Asylum System.”

Ministers also received an update from the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality on the steps being taken by Service Providers to identify and remove illegal on-line hate speech.  The Minister welcomed the progress made by companies who have shown marked increases in the level of illegal content being identified and removed. He said “Companies have to continue to engage fully with us in tackling hate speech on line. It causes enormous harm to individuals, families and to wider society and I welcome the leadership shown by the Commission in ensuring that companies live up to their responsibilities in this regard.   The results of the latest monitoring exercise conducted by the Commission show a significant increase in the speed at which companies are reacting to notifications received and, in the majority of cases, I’m pleased to say this has resulted in the removal of the material concerned.  This issue is a priority for me as Minister.”

Minister Flanagan also met with the newly appointed UK Minister for Justice, David Gauke to discuss ongoing cooperation in justice matters.