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Internal Policy Matters in the EU Politics

The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for several tasks, imposed on the member states by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. According to Article 67 of the Treaty, the Union constitutes an area of freedom, security and justice with respect for fundamental rights and the different legal systems and traditions of the member states.

There are no internal border controls. The European Union frames a common policy on asylum, immigration and external border control, based on solidarity between member states, which is fair towards third-country nationals and stateless persons.

The European Union endeavours 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 and other competent authorities.

Topical issues

The European Union is to adopt the following legal acts, in Estonia falling under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior:

  • Formation of the Entry/Exit System legal instrument and the Registered Traveller Programme legal instrument

    The e-borders package provides for the launch of a general European system of entry and exit and the registered traveller programme. The goal of the new IT solutions is to facilitate border crossing, consolidate information on the people crossing the border and offer the police and border guard institutions support with regard to the organisation of controls and identification of offenders.

    Estonia is interested in implementation of the package as soon as possible, since it is an important compensation measure for moving towards visa liberalisation in the neighbouring countries – on the one hand the systems help to organise smooth border crossing, while on the other hand curb cross-border crime and illegal migration.
  • Approval of the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive

    PNR (Passenger Name Record) is the airline passenger booking information system that facilitates countering organised crime. It is the European development of the system implemented in Australia, the US and other countries after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

    The aim of the proposal is to create a set of common European rules for all arriving and departing flights with regard to collection and use of PNR data. The draft regulates how the airlines are to forward and use the booking information of international passengers arriving to and departing from the member states, how this information can be processed and exchanged between the countries. Estonia is interested in implementation of this system on domestic European flights.
  • Adoption of the Europol Directive

    Estonia expects that the new revision of the act on the establishing of Europol will improve the analytical capacity of Europol. We are also considering adequacy of the mandate related to cyber-crime. The strengthening of Europol is facilitated by implementation of the operational cooperation agreement between Russia and Europol, which among other things requires reaching an agreement on data protection issues. Estonia expects the agreement to be concluded as soon as possible.

The Stockholm Programme

The priorities of the European Union in the area of justice, freedom and security for 2010-2014 are determined by the Stockholm Programme, approved by the European Council in December of 2009. The programme aims to strengthen the connection between the measures, focusing on the interests and needs of citizens.

When designing the Stockholm programme Estonia paid special attention to the document receiving the right aims with regard to implementation of new technologies in the field of internal security. We have also supported implementation of all the information systems involved in the planning as well as progressing further with new developments.

The policy guidelines set out in the programme are implemented by the European Commission in accordance with its own action plan that provides for specific draft legislation and other policy documents used by the Commission to facilitate work on the programme.

Since the Stockholm Programme is coming to an end, the European Union has already begun discussions of the potential new programme. The debates got under way in summer of 2013 in the unofficial meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministries, prior to which the government approved the initial Estonian position.
Estonia believes that in the next five years the strategic priority should be given to the Schengen area functioning without problems, and the prerequisite for this is cooperation between member states and deepening of mutual trust. The central role in the internal security area is played by the implementation of new technologies, improving the efficiency of information exchange between law enforcement agencies and providing for cyber security. We continue to support the implementation of new large-scale information systems that would assist law enforcement agencies in combating cross-border crime and illegal migration.

The discussions will culminate in approval of the guidelines, the development of which took many years during the European Council session in June this year. In spring the European Commission is also planning to come up with a new communication in connection with the future of the matters of justice and home affairs.

Questions of justice and home affairs of the European Union


The questions of justice and home affairs of the European Union, some of which are to be handled in Estonia by the Ministry of Justice and other competent authorities, include the following: free movement of persons; visa policy; cross-border issues; Schengen matters; migration; asylum matters; judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters; illegal drug policy coordination; the European Union citizenship; data protection; fundamental rights; racism and xenophobia; police and customs cooperation; crime prevention; fight against organised crime; foreign relations on the matters of justice and home affairs.

With regard to the matters of justice and home affairs Estonia has implemented a common internal coordination process for European Union matters. You can read more about this process on the website of the Government Office.


Last updated: 16 June 2014