EU Council moves forward on migration, trafficking laws

EU Council

In June, the EU Council settled on its negotiating position for the revision of the Anti-Trafficking Directive.

The Council’s position differs slightly from the Commission’s initial  proposal with respect to several issues. Firstly, the Council made it clearer that the addition of forced marriage and illegal adoption to the trafficking definition in Article 2 still requires that all elements of human trafficking are proven for both crimes. Further, the Council requests that the sanctions regime against legal persons should be clarified, and does not follow the “proportionate mandatory approach” of the Commission. Thirdly, instead of requesting Member States to establish one National Referral Mechanism, the Council leaves this more up to MS and allows for “one or several National Referral Mechanisms”. The Council further gives MS six months more to report on the trafficking situation in the previous year.

LSI generally supports the Council’s position but opposes the binding criminalisation of “the knowing use”, which both the Council and Commission propose. We also regret that both bodies did not propose further provisions to strengthen the rights of trafficked persons.

The Council also agreed on its negotiating positions on the Single Permit Directive, which governs the EU’s issuing of residence and work permits to third-country nationals, on the asylum procedure regulation and the asylum and migration management regulation, the draft Directive on asset recovery and confiscation of illegally obtained profits, the draft Directive on violence against women, and the draft Directive on platform workers.