The aim of the European Union Affairs Directorate within the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security is to coordinate matters relating to discussions, at EU level, which fall within the area of responsibility of this Ministry.
It is the EU Affairs Directorate’s function to keep up-to-date with events within the EU dealing with freedom, security and justice and to keep the departments falling within the ambit of the Ministry informed about these developments. It distributes a considerable amount of documents received from the EU on a daily basis to the departments both for information purposes as well as to ensure that the necessary decisions would be taken, in line with the Ministry’s policies, in order to present one voice within the various working groups of the Council of the European Union. Therefore the Directorate coordinates the positions taken at the various groups discussing legislative and other proposals at EU level.
The core functions of the EU Affairs Directorate can therefore be summarised as follows:
Ensuring that legislative and non-legislative proposals being discussed within the Council of the EU, with a possible effect on the functions of the Ministry and its departments, are carefully followed up
Ensuring that the Ministry’s actions on these proposals are consonant with the Ministry’s policies and that they do not have any negative impact on Malta
Disseminating information about developments in the EU to key stakeholders in a timely and efficient manner
Managing the coordination of attendance to the numerous working groups on freedom, security and justice so that Malta will be duly represented at such groups and keeping records of those Council and Commission working group meetings in which Malta participated, both through its technical attachés as well as through the technical experts from the line departments
Coordinating and drawing up instruction notes for these meetings, including the meetings of the Permanent Representatives within their Committee (COREPER) and briefing notes for the Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings
Coordinating the preparation of explanatory memoranda for meetings of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, Cabinet and the Foreign & European Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, with a view to setting Malta’s position in relation to specific proposals
Acting as the channel of correspondence on all matters related to justice and home affairs between the EU institutions and the competent authorities in Malta
Overseeing the drawing up of answers to the numerous questionnaires that are sent by the EU institutions as part of their functions when preparing documents to be discussed by the Member States
Dr. Josette Zerafa
Director (Policy Development and Programme Implementation)
Dr Josette Zerafa was born in Attard, Malta on the 3 May 1964. She attended secondary school at St Monica’s College in Birkirkara and then proceeded to study languages at sixth form level at the New Lyceum in Msida. In 1983, Dr Zerafa started the law course at the University of Malta, graduating as notary in 1987 and obtaining her LLD in 1988. In 1993, Dr Zerafa obtained her MA in Contemporary West European Studies from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.
Following her graduation as a lawyer, Dr Zerafa started her career as legal officer within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she was immediately allocated to the European Community (EC) department. She was one of the founding members of the EC Directorate under the leadership of Dr Joe Borg, now European Commissioner. Thus she was involved in the preparations for Malta’s membership of the European Union from the very beginning. In 1996 she was appointed Senior Legal Officer at the same department and was heavily involved in the vetting of legislation being drawn up by the Maltese Government to ensure that such legislation was EU compliant. At the same time, with the coming into effect of the Maastricht Treaty and the coming into force of the third pillar of the European Union (Justice and Home Affairs), Dr Zerafa was involved from the early stages in the work relating to this new area of the EU, while continuing with her previous responsibilities.
In 1999 Dr Zerafa was appointed Director (Legal) within the European Union Affairs Directorate at the same Ministry. She became responsible for the legal aspects relating to EU accession but kept a special interest in justice and home affairs and continued working and monitoring this area personally, acting in constant liaison with the Ministry for Justice and the Ministry for Home Affairs. At this stage, Dr Zerafa was involved in the screening process of Malta’s legislation vis-à-vis the EU acquis, in preparation for EU membership, and subsequently also in the negotiations that led to membership.
Following the closure of negotiations and with EU accession close at hand, in March 2004, Dr Zerafa was appointed to the post of Director EU Affairs within the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs, a post she still holds i.