Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nine JHA agencies (CEPOL, EASO, EIGE, EMCDDA, eu-LISA, Eurojust, Europol, FRA and Frontex) have been supporting the EU Member States and institutions in meeting the unprecedented challenges resulting from the outbreak of the virus in both the short and long term.
Over the past months, all JHA agencies have taken the necessary measures to ensure business continuity and uninterrupted operational support in their respective areas of work. At the same time, the Justice and Home Affairs agencies' network (JHAAN), under the chair of Eurojust, has initiated a dialogue to share its experiences in dealing with the pandemic and to consider new avenues for closer cooperation among the agencies and with key stakeholders inside and outside the EU.
The agencies’ individual and joint efforts to deal with the impact of the pandemic have been captured in a Joint Paper on the COVID-19 response by the JHA agencies, which was formally endorsed by the Heads of JHA agencies during a video conference held on 9 July. During their meeting, the Heads discussed the latest developments, including the fundamental rights implications of government COVID-19 measures, the quick adaptation of organised crime to the changing circumstances and the recent surge in drug use, domestic violence and child abuse.
To tackle these and other issues related to the protection of citizens and freedoms more effectively, there is a need, in the coming years, for increased inter-agency cooperation in the field of digitalisation and for sustainable financial resources.
The COVID-19 pandemic coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Justice and Home Affairs agencies' network. In the past decade, this family of JHA agencies has joined forces as guardians of the area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Together, they have contributed to the implementation of the EU’s objectives in the fields of migration, asylum and external border management, the fight against serious organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorism, gender equality and respect for fundamental rights.