Transcript of European Union/United States Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Press Availability

WASHINGTON , Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following transcript of the European Union/ United States Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Press Availability was released today by the U.S. Department of Justice: 1:40 P.M...

Continuing with this effort to anticipate and to prevent terrorism, we have dealt with the PNR. We would like to arrive at the establishment of a European PNR. We hope that all of this will elicit excellent cooperation between the United States and Europe . We also brought up the topic of electronic registration hoping that it would not involve these procedures, but simply facilitate traveling.

The good news has been the exemption from visas for six new member states, and we are happy to have Malta join us as one of the new member states. There are five remaining, and we have confidence that this visa waiver program will involve all European citizens. We fully expect that all of the states will observe the rules put in place in cooperation with the United States . We are happy to have had a successful discussion and to have been able to discuss the problem of exploiting children as well as sharing our concern about dealing with new menaces.

I should say I am very happy to participate in these exchanges this morning and I thank our American friends.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: Finally, we will hear Thomas Bocek , Deputy Justice Minister of the Czech Republic . The Czech Republic will be the next president of this organization.

Mr. Bocek.

MR. BOCEK: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

As the forthcoming presidency, I had the pleasure to confirm to our American friends that we will build our next cooporation on the basis of the work and progress which have been achieved by the French presidency so far. I informed our colleagues of some of the key topics in the strategic area of justice and home affairs with the Czech Republic intends to address during its EU presidency in the first half of 2009.

The general priorities of the Czech presidency in the justice and home affairs area include particularly the use of modern technologies for security purposes, including a discussion on the use of the existing communication networks and channels. The next important subject would be the discussion on the burning issue of drug abuse. In this area, we will strive for deepening the existing broad cooperation between the European Union and the United States .

Other activities of the forthcoming Czech presidency address the longstanding EU priorities in the security area which is the fight against terrorism, organized crime and trafficking in human beings. In the area of judicial cooperation, we would like to deepen the mutual relations in the framework of the Hague conference of international private law.

The United States will remain in most of the areas the most important strategic partner of the European Union, because we face the same challenges and the threats, share the same values and long-term goals. I had the pleasure to inform my American friends and to invite them to the next informal, high-level meeting in Prague on 5th and 6th February, and then the next Ministerial Troika which will take place in Prague as well, and which is planned for 28 and 29 February.

Thank you for your attention.

MODERATOR: We have time for some questions, and so we'll start with the United States press.

QUESTION: A question for the Attorney General regarding the charges against the Illinois governor. How concerned are you about the seriousness of having someone sitting in office with those charges against them, and do you expect other people to be charged?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: I can't comment on that investigation beyond the comments that were made by Pat Fitzgerald last Tuesday. Sorry.

QUESTION: A question first of all for Attorney General on the data protection principles, the common principles. They've been discussed for several years, I believe. Have you any idea of when they will be agreed?

And the question for Madame Alliot-Marie. Have you discussed the issue of Guantanamo and what to do with the detainees; and, if not, do you think Europe and France should help the U.S. to transfer the detainees in Guantanamo and they may in some cases have helped?