State Secretary Šimundža-Nikolić at JHA Council in Luxembourg

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State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration Vedrana Šimundža-Nikolić participated in the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union, held in Luxembourg on Friday 20 October.

The meeting of home affairs ministers took place on 19 October and of justice ministers on 20 October 2023.

Justice ministers discussed the proposed directive to harmonise certain aspects of national insolvency rules. Croatia supports the objectives pursued by the draft, especially provisions on the minimum harmonisation of avoidance actions – mechanisms to challenge transactions of the debtor before the start of the bankruptcy procedure to the detriment of creditors.

Participants were also informed about current legislative proposals.

Among the non-legislative activities, the fight against impunity in relation to the Russian aggression against Ukraine was discussed, and the Spanish Presidency reported on the latest initiatives taken on this matter at European level, with a focus on the follow-up to the June Justice and Home Affairs Council. The EU remains firmly committed to ensuring that Russia is fully responsible for the war of aggression against Ukraine.

Judicial cooperation with Latin America in the fight against organised crime was also discussed, specifically, the follow-up to the EU-CELAC summit in July and the Europe-Latin America Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime, and the upcoming implementation of the second phase of the programme.

In addition, there was an exchange of views on efforts to improve the efficiency and quality of justice systems. Croatia has made progress on this front, primarily by reducing the total backlog of cases, which confirms the continuous efforts made to increase the trust of citizens and businesses in institutions. There was also an exchange of experiences in the use of artificial intelligence, which has been recognised in the Croatian judiciary in several projects financed under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Among other things, the land registry and cadastre information system is being improved by implementing an AI-based virtual assistant to increase efficiency in land registry procedures.  In addition, the application system for court case management will provide better customer support through the introduction of AI algorithm,s and it is planned to increase the predictability of court decisions using virtual instruments.

Ministers approved conclusions on digital empowerment and fundamental rights, aimed at ensuring that fundamental rights of citizens are preserved and protected in the digital age, which the Republic of Croatia fully supports.

Among other topics, participants were informed about the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention, the EU-US negotiations on an e-evidence agreement and the EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs to be held in Skopje, North Macedonia on 26-27 October 2023.

Photo: European Union