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[WATCH] Money laundering and European prosecutor's office among priorities of Justice Council presidency

Justice minister Owen Bonnici meets counterparts from Luxembourg and the Netherlands for informal talks ahead of presidency

Yannick Pace
22 December 2016, 11:28am
Justice ministers Felix Braz, Owen Bonnici and Ard van der Steur (from left)
Justice ministers Felix Braz, Owen Bonnici and Ard van der Steur (from left)
Justice Ministers Discuss Priorities For Maltese Presidency Of The European Council
Malta has an ambitious agenda and will be seeking to push forward issues such as a proposal against money laundering, the effective sharing of information between member states and measures to fight terrorism, according to Dutch justice minister Ard van der Steur.

The Dutch minister and former Justice Council President said that progress in these areas would go a long way in improving the quality of life of people in all member states.

Another issue that will be pushed forward during the Maltese presidency will be the establishment of European prosecutor's office. Luxembourgish justice minister Felix Braz said that it is necessary for there to be means to prosecute those who misuse public funds. "It is unacceptable for European tax payers money to be used in the wrong way."

Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Maltese justice minister Owen Bonnici said that the Maltese presidency of the justice council will be raising awareness on the importance of prosecuting those who commit genocide and crimes against humanity.

Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Moreover, he said that Europe is currently facing a number of challenges which the presidency will seek to turn into opportunities to change policies and bring the people closer to the EU.

Bonnici said that there were a number of areas that member states do not agree on however Malta will act as an "honest broker" and facilitate efforts for a closer Europe.

Both of the visiting ministers expressed confidence in the preparations that have so far been made and praised Bonnici for his experience and level of preparation.

"I have full confidence that the presidency of justice council under Owen will be great success," van der Steur said.

Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Braz, having also previously been president of the Justice Council, said that he could understand what it feels like to be the smallest country in the EU, about to take on such a big challenge adding that being a small country can also act as an advantage.

"Small countries can be a lot more reactive in how they deal with problems and this can make them quite efficient," Braz said.

Braz added that he has full faith in Bonnici and is confident that Malta's presidency will be a successful one.

Malta's presidency of the European Council starts on 1 January and will run through till the end of June.

Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...