Plans for a European evidence warrant, allowing police to seek evidence within other member states were approved by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 24 February. There was controversy over whether the offence should be one which is criminal in both the state seeking the evidence and the state where the evidence is sought ("dual criminality"). The compromise reached, in line with the European arrest warrant, was that there would be a list of 32 offences for which the "dual criminality" defence could not be invoked.
On immigration, the Council favourably received a proposal for an early warning system between member states of major decisions regarding immigration policy (see EurActiv 11 Feb 2005). It also reached broad agreement on the proposal for exchange of information between member states via the Visa Information System (VIS) but acknowledged that more time was required to resolve technical problems concerning the inclusion of biometric information in visas.
Ministers unanimously approved the appointment of Max Peter Ratzel, of the German police service, as the new head of Europol.