Amy has MA degrees in History, English, and Theology. She has taught college English and religious education classes and currently works as a freelance writer.
Justice, Freedom, and Security for All
The European Union is committed to making Europe a just, free, and secure continent. Over the last couple decades, the EU has used three multi-annual strategic work programmes to pursue its justice, freedom, and security goals. The first, the Tampere Programme, began in 1999. The second, the Hague Programme, followed five years later. The third, the Stockholm Programme, covers the period from 2010-2014.
The Stockholm Programme is designed to help the EU protect European citizens; uphold citizens' rights; regulate Europe's relationships with the rest of the world; manage matters of immigration and asylum; and make Europe a more just, free, and secure place to live.
The Stockholm Programme's Priorities
The Stockholm Programme has set six priorities to boost Europe's justice, freedom, and security.
1. Europe must be a continent that respects its citizens' rights.
Therefore, the Stockholm Programme aims to eliminate discrimination, protect vulnerable groups, ensure free movement throughout the continent, secure private information, and encourage citizens to participate in the democratic process.
2. Europe must be a continent that is dedicated to justice.
The Stockholm Programme attempts to smooth the path for citizens to obtain justice by bolstering police forces, establishing cooperation between court systems, setting minimum standards for civil and criminal law, and promoting e-Justice for better access to information through technology.
3. Europe must be a continent that protects its citizens.
Through enhanced policing and international cooperation, the Stockholm Programme helps the EU fight against human trafficking, organized crime, terrorism, sexual abuse and exploitation, drugs, and economic crimes.
4. Europe must be a continent that is accessible.
The Stockholm Programme promotes consistent immigration and asylum policies, border management and control, an efficient visa system, and cooperation throughout the continent.
5. Europe must be a continent that stands in solidarity with the rest of the world.
The Stockholm Programme encourages flexible migration policies that take into consideration the needs of the labor market in Europe and help migrants integrate into their new homes. It also supports the Common European Asylum System that regularizes asylum policies and procedures, both to welcome those in need and protect Europe.
6. Europe must be a continent that can function well in a globalized world.
The Stockholm Programme helps the EU maintain relationships and partnerships with countries throughout the world to share resources; exchange information; address common challenges; and promote international justice, freedom, and security.
The Action Plan
All that sounds great, doesn't it? There are plenty of good ideas in these six priorities, but the EU needs a lot more than just good ideas to meet its justice, freedom, and security goals. That's where the Stockholm Programme's Action Plan comes in. It assists the EU in implementing the Programme's priorities on a daily basis in the practical realm.
For instance, in the area of citizens' rights, the Action Plan reinforces and strengthens privacy laws, sets procedures to fight racism, and creates measures to protect vulnerable groups, like children and crime victims. To further the EU's commitment to justice, the Action Plan builds cooperation and mutual recognition between nations' court systems and suggests efficient methods of handling evidence.
The Action Plan also helps protect Europe's citizens by drafting security strategies, promoting cooperation between various European law enforcement agencies, proposing legislation to strengthen the fight against crime, and improving current security tools while exploring new ones, especially in the realm of technology.
In the area of Europe's accessibility, the Action Plan works in close contact with border control agencies to improve their methods and standardize their rules. It also calls for better visa regulations and easier movement of European citizens.
To help the EU stand in solidarity with the rest of the world, the Action Plan promotes an extensive immigration policy that will improve immigration laws, encourage the migration of much-needed professional individuals, help migrants integrate, support migrants' rights, address the challenges of illegal immigration, and protect asylum seekers.
Finally, the Action Plan assists Europe in functioning in a globalized world by advocating agreements and partnerships between Europe and other nations in order to increase dialogue and cooperation.
Overall, the Stockholm Programme and its Action Plan have proven successful. Using them, the EU has established a Common European Asylum System, strengthened and simplified its visa policy, passed crime-fighting legislation, clarified and improved its immigration policies, and bolstered cooperation on several fronts.
The EU, however, is never finished working for increased justice, freedom, and security. The Stockholm Programme expires in 2014, and the European Commission has issued a communication entitled 'An Open and Secure Europe: Making it Happen' to set priorities for a new multi-annual strategic work programme. Some of these priorities include:
- Attracting new immigrants, especially those with professional skills
- Continuing to ease free movement throughout Europe
- Further improving border management
- Better implementing asylum policies to achieve a balance between protecting asylum seekers and preventing abuse of the system
- Extending crime-fighting activities to prevent terrorism and disrupt organized crime
- Increasing cyberspace security
- Simplifying access to the justice system
Through these and other activities, the EU hopes to continue its journey to justice, freedom, and security for all.
Let's review. The European Union is committed to making Europe a just, free, and secure continent. The Stockholm Programme, which runs from 2010-2014, is designed to help the EU protect European citizens, uphold citizens' rights, regulate Europe's relationships with the rest of the world, manage matters of immigration and asylum, and make Europe a more just, free, and secure place to live.
The Stockholm Programme sets six priorities to boost Europe's justice, freedom, and security. Europe must be a continent that respects its citizen's rights, is dedicated to justice, protects its citizens, is accessible, stands in solidarity with the rest of the world, and can function well in a globalized world. The Action Plan assists the EU in implementing the Programme's priorities on a daily basis in the practical realm.
The Stockholm Programme expires in 2014, so the European Commission has issued a communication entitled 'An Open and Secure Europe: Making it Happen' to set priorities for a new multi-annual strategic work programme that looks beyond Stockholm to continue the journey to justice, freedom, and security for all.
After completing this lesson, you should be able to:
- Define each of the six priorities of the Stockholm Programme
- Describe the Programme's 'Action Plan'
- Recall the successes of the Stockholm Programme
- Discuss the future of the EU with 'An Open and Secure Europe' and list some of its new priorities
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