The Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) is composed of the Ministers of Justice and/or Home Affairs of the Member States of the European Union.
In the Council of the European Union, the ministers from the EU Member States take a joint decision on the policy to be implemented within the EU. The Council is supported by the Committee of Permanent Representatives, which prepares decisions and guards the implementation and adherence of the decisions monitored by the Council.
The Council has six formal meetings a year. The EU presidency is free to organise several informal meetings as well.
Since the mid seventies the Member States began to cooperate in the field of Justice and Home Affairs on an informal and intergovernmental basis outside the communautarian framework. In 1990, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg have signed and ratified the Schengen Agreement, which was an important step towards multilateral cooperation among the Member States. Ever since, several other Member States have entered the Schengen Agreement.
The Treaty on the European Union (TEU) which came into force in November 1993, allowed Justice and Home Affairs into the institutional framework of the EU. The Schengen prerogatives subsequently became part of this framework as a result of the coming into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in May 1999.
This council deals with, among others, the following policy fields:
-justice and home affairs (including civil defense)
-asylum and migration
-Schengen and visa policy
-police cooperation and customs control