Towards a Citizens' Europe in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice
Building on the achievements of the Tampere and Hague Programmes, significant progress has been achieved to date in this field. However, Europe still faces certain challenges which must be addressed in a comprehensive manner. To this end the European Council adopted a new multi-annual programme known as the " Stockholm Programme ", for the period 2010-2014.
Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament and national parliaments are playing an increasing role. Citizens and representative associations can make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action in accordance with Article 11 TEU. This reinforces the open and democratic character of the Union for the benefit of its people.
A group made up of at least a quarter of the Member States may present an initiative on administrative cooperation and on judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters.
National parliaments are playing an increasing role in the legislative process.
The priority for the coming years will be to focus on the interests and needs of citizens.
■ The legislative process
The Treaty facilitates the process of reaching the goals outlined in the Stockholm Programme, both for the Union Institutions and for the Member States. The Commission's role in preparing legislative proposals is extended. However, a group comprising at least a quarter of the Member States may present an initiative on administrative cooperation and on judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters. The legislative process is improved by the use, in most sectors, of the ordinary legislative procedure, thereby granting full involvement of the European Parliament.
National parliaments are playing an increasing role in the legislative process. By enhancing also the role of the Court of Justice, the Treaty improves Europe's ability to fully implement policy in this area and ensure the consistency of interpretation of the instruments adopted.
■ The priorities of the Stockholm Programme
The priority for the coming years is to focus on the interests and needs of citizens. The challenge is to ensure respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and integrity of the person while guaranteeing security in Europe.
For the years to come, the Union's main priorities will be:
1. Citizenship and fundamental rights
2. A Europe of law and justice
3. A Europe that protects
4. Access to Europe in a globalised world
5. A Europe of responsibility, solidarity and partnership in migration and asylum matters
6. The role of Europe in a globalised world - the external dimension
The acquis in the field of Justice and Home Affairs