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Secretaria Geral MAI

European Union

An area of freedom, security and justice
The European Union's area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) was created to ensure the free movement of persons and to offer a high level of protection to citizens. It covers policy areas that range from the management of the EU external borders to judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters and police cooperation. It also includes asylum and immigration policies and the fight against crime.
AFSJ is devoted in  Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) - Title V  and it is based on strategic guidelines for legislative and operational planning adopted by European Council.
The European Union Council, which brings together Ministers from each member states, exercises the legislative and budgetary functions jointly with the European Parliament. It is responsible for the definition of policies and for the coordination, based on the European Council guidelines.

Policies regarding border control, asylum and immigration

The European Union has been developing an extensive policy related to migration, based on Chapter 2 Title V of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Union action is focused on five different fields:

These domains are operationalised in the European strategy defined by European Agenda on Migration and the Partnership Framework with third countries, under the European Agenda on Migration.
Police Cooperation

The European Union develops a police cooperation that connects all member states authorities, including police, customs and other services responsible for law enforcement specialized in prevention or detention of criminal offences and investigations.

The integration of Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement into the EU legal and institutional framework establishes a number of obligations regarding police cooperation at its common internal borders and within the Schengen area, as part of the abolition framework of the external borders’ control.
Civil Protection

The TFEU also predict, in Title XXIII, actions to support, coordinate and complete member states’ action concerning civil protection.

The European Union seeks to ensure better civil, environmental and material protection in case of any natural or technologic disasters.
The EU action aims to:
  • Support and complete member states’ action at the national, regional and local levels in regard of risk prevention, preparation of civil protection authorities in the member states and intervention in the event of a natural or man-made disasters in the Union;
  • Promote agile and efficient operational cooperation in the Union between civil protection national services;
  • Improve the consistency of civil protection actions’ developed at the international level;
  • EU Civil Protection Mechanism
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism, established in 2001, aims to facilitate enhanced cooperation among national civil protection authorities across the EU. It enables a more rapid and effective response to emergencies. Since its launch in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has already been activated by numerous occasions of emergency.
European Agencies

EU agencies are distinct bodies from the EU institutions – separate legal entities set up to perform specific tasks under EU law. The European Agencies cover different subjects for example concerning Migration, Asylum, Borders and Police Cooperation.  

FRA - European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) provides independent, evidence-based advice to EU and national decision makers, thereby helping to make debates, policies and legislation on fundamental rights better informed and targeted. It advises EU institutions and national governments on fundamental rights, particularly in the areas of discrimination, access to justice, racism and xenophobia, data protection, victims’ rights and children's rights. The FRA aims to help promote and protect fundamental rights more effectively across the EU. This Agency is an independent body from EU, funded by the Union’s budget.
FRONTEX - European Border and Coast Guard Agency
FRONTEX’s mission is to promote, coordinate and develop the European borders’ management according to Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the concept of integrated border management. This Agency helps EU countries and Schengen associated countries manage their external borders. It also helps to harmonise border controls across the EU. The agency facilitates cooperation between border authorities in each EU country, providing technical support and expertise. FRONTEX actions’ are focused in joint operations, which has the participation of the EU state-members, concerning three different domains: land, sea and air. Each of these operations are based in a risk analysis.
Eu-LISA - European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice
Established in 2011 and operational since 1 December 2012, eu-LISA is responsible for support the implementation of the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs policies by managing large-scale IT systems. It provides the technical and operational framework in an area of freedom, security and justice, managing three main IT systems dealing with visas, asylum requests and sharing information to guarantee the security of the Schengen Area: the Visa Information System (VIS), the Schengen Information System (SIS II) and Eurodac. In response to Schengen area’s challenges, this Agency may also be responsible for the development and operational management of others information systems and to contribute to the interoperability between large-scale IT.
EASO - European Asylum Support Office
EASO plays an important role in the implementation of Common European Asylum System, promoting practical cooperation with and between state-members. The aim is to ensure the principles of equity and justice and guarantee that all Member States deal with individual asylum cases in a coherent way. The support, given also by the European Commission, is extremely relevant in situations when asylum systems take a disproportional migration pressure that can be solved by supporting teams specialised in asylum issues. This Agency was established in 2010 through Regulation (EU) 439/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council, beginning its operations in 2011. It is estimated that the negotiation on strengthening its competences with a view to amending the Office for a future European Asylum Agency will take place-by the end of June 2018.
CEPOL - European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
CEPOL contributes to a safer Europe by facilitating cooperation and knowledge sharing among police officers in EU countries and in some non-EU countries on issues based on the EU’s security priorities, and especially on the EU policy cycle on serious and organised crime. This Agency aims to become an excellent hub and a driver of change in the law enforcement-training field. The agency also works with EU bodies, international organisations, and non-EU countries to ensure that there is a collective response to the most serious security threats. CEPOL is a European Agency since its legal mandate that started in July 1st 2016 (Regulation (EU) 2015/2219 of the European Parliament and of the Council that replaced and repeal Decision 2005/681/JAI of Council)
EUROPOL - European Police Office
The European Police Office (Europol) is the EU law enforcement agency, whose remit is to help make Europe safer by assisting law enforcement authorities in EU member countries. Established in 1999, EUROPOL aim to give national partners a deeper insight into the criminal problems they face, Europol produces regular long-term analyses of crime and terrorism. This law enforcement agency works as an information core about criminal activities in the EU and supports the most complex international operations. Besides that, it collaborates as well with third countries and international organizations.
What we do

The International Relations Department of General Secretariat of MHA is responsible for supporting the members of government in policies’ definition and execution concerning the EU. Guarantee the coordination of foreign affairs between every MHA services. Analyse and give legal opinion about legislative proposals of the European Union, coordinating the representation and MHA’s position in the specific negotiation and following the transcript to domestic legal framework. Keep up with the activity of Court of Justice of the European Union related with the litigation and pre-litigation of Portugal in areas regarding MHA responsibilities. Update an information system about normative provisions in the EU.


Última atualização: 06-10-2021 13:57


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