Council of Justice

YMGE 2018

Letter from the Director

Dear delegates,

Welcome to Yale Model Government Europe! My name is Michael, and I am incredibly excited to head the Spanish Cabinet and the Council of Justice for this year’s YMGE. I have no doubt that all your preparation, research, and in-conference discussions will prove rewarding and insightful. This topic guide serves as a springboard for your preparation, and I encourage you to seek out further resources and information, particularly on issues you find relevant to our Cabinet or to your own academic, intellectual, and personal interests.

To tell you a bit about myself, I am a junior at Yale double majoring in Global Affairs and Ethics, Politics, & Economics (EP&E), and I am also a Human Rights Scholar at the Yale Law School. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, I have primarily studied comparative political economy, democratic development, and anti-corruption initiatives, particularly in Central and Latin America. But, my interests extend from Sub-Saharan African literature to Netflix sitcoms and podcasts.

On campus, I serve as Secretary-General of Yale Model United Nations (YMUN), having previously worked as Secretary of the Yale International Relations Association (YIRA), Director-General of Operations for the Security Council Simulation at Yale (SCSY), Under-Secretary-General of Delegations for Yale Model United Nations China (YMUNC), and Director of the Organization of American States committee for Yale Model United Nations Taiwan (YMUNT). Similarly, I teach international relations to high school students in New Haven, edit for the Yale Review of International Studies (YRIS), and direct outreach for the Yale Globalist Magazine. When not entrenched in current events and global issues, I eat dinners with the Brazil Club, manage a coffee shop, and catch up on the Great British Bake Off.

As your Director, I would be happy to assist you in your research and answer any questions you might have; these can be about the committee, college, or corgis – in short, anything. Please do not hesitate to reach me at michael.borger@yale.edu, and I’ll be sure to respond as quickly as I can.

Best of luck,

Michael Borger

Council History

The Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) is one of several configurations of the Council of the European Union. Comprising the justice and home affairs ministers from 28 European Union member states, the JHA is one of the most multifaceted and complex of the European Union Councils. Most members send only one minister for both these sectors, although some do send both a home affairs minister and a justice minister.

Broadly, the Justice and Home Affairs council deals with issues of cooperation and common practices on transnational issues facing the continent. These include the guarantee of fundamental political and civil rights, asylum and immigration customs, and the fight against cybercrime, terrorism, and organized criminal activity. The Council may grapple with legislation covering a variety of different topics, including how countries can collaborate on judicial matters, coordinate on curbing human trafficking, and determine the most effective ways to stop the drug trade from crossing borders. At its core, the JHA is a dynamic Council that deals with issues integral to both security of states and of persons.

Current Situation

The scope of the Council includes, but is not limited to, questions of citizenship, discrimination, crime, and terrorism. Because of the integration that underpins the existence of the European Union, cooperation amongst judicial authorities, coordination in legislation, and guarantees of fundamental rights are pivotal. If discrepancies arise, problems can ensue.

To make an abstract concept more tangible, one can look to travel within the European Union. If moving from one place to another within the EU, people generally can do so without restriction because of laws that allow for freedom of movement. But, this does not mean someone who commits a crime in one country can escape punishment or trial by entering another. This works only because countries in the European Union coordinate laws and policies to ensure that the ways each country is governed are consistent. For instance, if a man commits a crime in Spain, he cannot simply escape to Portugal and instead, he would still face the verdicts of the legal system in Spain, even if he is physically in a cafe in Lisbon. The decision for cooperation between legal authorities ensures that individuals cannot get away with serious and more structural crimes, in particular, including corruption, drug and human trafficking, and terrorism.

On matters of asylum and immigration, there are common baseline standards and procedures that countries adhere to. These include streamlined systems of asylum applications, the different statuses a person might be granted, and the role of national authorities in meeting their responsibilities.  A comprehensive and coherent European immigration policy, however, is still in the works. Domestic political pressures and inter-country tensions have impeded progress on these measures, though.

It is important to remember that because of the coordination that takes place between countries on measure of security, the European Union is increasingly better off. Without cooperation on issues that transcend borders such as radicalization and trafficking, countries would face unprecedented levels of danger. The Justice and Home Affairs Council is the cornerstone of a safe and secure European Union, but only to the extent that member states allow it to be.

Questions to Consider

On what security issues should states coordinate policy? Are there any that are more pressing or any that are particularly off-limits?

Why has the Justice and Home Affairs council struggled to coordinate a cohesive policy on immigration and asylum-seeking?

With issues of terrorism and radicalization, what are the most effective ways in which countries can cooperate to deter threats to their respective populations?

To what extent should national authorities work together? Is it in the jurisdiction of different legal and judicial entities to collaborate and potentially reveal confidential information? Does this incur any risks for the countries? On what security issues should states coordinate policy? Are there any that are more pressing or any that are particularly off-limits?

Why has the Justice and Home Affairs council struggled to coordinate a cohesive policy on immigration and asylum-seeking?

With issues of terrorism and radicalization, what are the most effective ways in which countries can cooperate to deter threats to their respective populations?

To what extent should national authorities work together? Is it in the jurisdiction of different legal and judicial entities to collaborate and potentially reveal confidential information? Does this incur any risks for the countries?

Suggestions for Further Research

Justice and Home Affairs, European Union Site