Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano joined Attorney General Eric Holder today for the biannual U.S.-European Union (EU) Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial at the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss international collaboration on counterterrorism and homeland security issues with EU Vice President and Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, Polish Deputy Minister of Justice Igor Dzialuk, Polish Deputy Minister of Interior Piotr Stachańczyk, and Danish Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov.
"The United States is strongly committed to working with our European partners to combat threats to our mutual security and economic stability," said Secretary Napolitano. "Together, we will continue joint efforts to enhance information sharing, strengthen cybersecurity and ensure the security and resilience of our global supply chain systems against terrorism and transnational crime."
"The European Union and the United States have been proud to stand and to work together in the face of common threats," Attorney General Holder said. "We will continue to strengthen our joint efforts to combat transnational organized crime and explore strategies for preventing and disrupting terrorist activity at home as well as abroad. We have also reaffirmed our commitment to increasing information sharing between and among law enforcement officials at every level--all while protecting the privacy of personal information."
Secretary Napolitano underscored the significant progress made in negotiations on the U.S.-EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement--reiterating the important role that information sharing plays in securing travel while protecting the privacy of passengers. Last week, Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute initialed an agreement between the United States and the European Union on the transfer and sharing of Passenger Name Records (PNR).
In discussing ongoing data protection negotiations, Secretary Napolitano and the Attorney General highlighted the United States' continued commitment and efforts to work with EU counterparts towards an umbrella agreement. The Attorney General stressed how data privacy is as much valued in the United States as it is in the European Union, and that it was crucial that critical cooperation between law enforcement officers in the Europe and the United States not be impeded.
As part of their meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder discussed the importance of cooperation in the area of cybercrime and noted the success of the first ever joint U.S.-EU tabletop cyber exercise on November 3, 2011 in Brussels. Recognizing that sustained transatlantic partnership will be critical to realizing the United States' International Strategy for Cyberspace, they also reiterated the United States' commitment to cybersecurity through the US-EU Working Group on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime--established at the Nov. 20, 2010 U.S.-EU Summit to develop collaborative approaches to a wide range of cyber issues--and saluted its ambitions goal to complete all EU Member States' accession to the Budapest Convention by the end of 2012.
The Attorney General also stressed the substantial progress that DOJ, DHS and EU experts have made in working together on joint exercises regarding improvised explosive devices, and sharing expertise and intelligence regarding IEDs. He also praised the collaboration of EU, DOJ and DHS experts against child pornography.
During their meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder highlighted their Department's collaboration with the international community to ensure a safe, secure and resilient global supply chain--reiterating the United States' and EU's shared commitment to continue strengthening international air cargo security and overall global supply chain security standards in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Universal Postal Union (UPU). In June, Secretary Napolitano traveled to Brussels, where she signed the U.S.-EU Joint Statement on Supply Chain Security--committing to a shared approach to secure the global supply chain.
Today's ministerial followed Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder's meetings in Budapest, Hungary last April where they participated in the biannual U.S.-European Union Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting focusing on counterterrorism and homeland security issues, including international collaboration to enhance information sharing, strengthen cybersecurity and ensure the security and resilience of our global supply chain systems against terrorism and transnational crime.