Since 1999, the area of Home Affairs policies has been developed through three multi-annual programmes which set out guidelines for common policies for the EU and its Member States. The Stockholm Programme which covers the period from 2010 to 2014 will soon come to an end. Thus it is time to consider future challenges and priorities to be addressed in the upcoming years.
During the last two decades, Home Affairs policies have changed considerably. Starting from intergovernmental cooperation, this area has been fully integrated into the European legal framework. This has happened due to an increasing need for a more European approach and as a consequence of the successive changes introduced to the EU Treaties – especially the Treaty of Lisbon.
Over the years, the EU has been able to develop a common legislative framework for Home Affairs policies as well as strengthen its own expertise to support operational cooperation and joint operations. Moreover, the Union has provided financial support and allowed for burden sharing between Member States. These achievements contributed the construction of an Area of Freedom Security and Justice with the aim of providing a safer and more open Europe for the benefit of all EU citizens as well as third country nationals.
In March 2014, the European Commission adopted a Communication An open and secure Europe: making it happen which identified the central issues to be tackled over the next years.
During the preparation of the Communication, all means were used in order to gather the widest range of input from stakeholders and citizens. To facilitate the discussion, the Commission carried out a public consultation process that attracted close to 80 contributions from national authorities of EU countries, NGOs, business and other stakeholders. Moreover, the Directorate General for Home Affairs organised several seminars and a high-level conference Open and Safe Europe – what's next? with key stakeholders in order to discuss proposals for future policies. You can find more information in the events section as well as consult the outcome of the conference.
The European Council of June 26 and 27, 2014 addressed the issues of future policy orientation in the Home Affairs areas as reflected in the Conclusions .