FREE Newsletter: 20, 21 June 2013

PRINCIPLES AND VALUES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

– POSSIBLE VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 7 TEU

MEPs call on Hungarian authorities to abide by EU values
European Parliament News: “Civil Liberties Committee recommendations to Hungary and the European Commission on how to remedy any breaches of key EU values promptly and avoid double standards are set out in a report voted on Wednesday. Should the Hungarian authorities fail to abide by EU values, MEPs ask the European Parliament’s authorities to consider resorting to EU Treaty Article 7 (1), which would enable the EU Council of Ministers to determine whether there is a clear risk of a serious breach.
“The EU has laudable values on paper, which must also be applied in practice. What the Civil Liberties Committee said today is that the constitutional changes in Hungary are systemic and the general trend in these changes is incompatible with Article 2 of the EU Treaty”, said rapporteur Rui Tavares (Greens/EFA, PT) after the committee vote.
The report, approved by 31 votes to 19, with 8 abstentions, reiterates that the EU is founded on the values enshrined in EU Treaty Article 2: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. The European Commission should create a stable mechanism to monitor compliance with those values in all member states, says the text

Recommendations to the Hungarian authorities
The report calls on the Hungarian authorities to remove from the Constitution those provisions already declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court; to reduce the recurrent use of cardinal laws and to leave policy areas such as family, social, fiscal and budget to ordinary legislation and majorities; to implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission; to ensure the widest possible participation of all parties in the constitutional process and to fully guarantee the independence of the judiciary.
On media laws, MEPs ask the Hungarian authorities to “ensure timely and close involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including media professionals, opposition parties and civil society, in any further review of this legislation”. They also call on Hungary to do more to integrate Roma communities and adopt a broader definition of “family”…”

Also on the same topic:

Hungary under fire over changes to constitution : http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/hungary-under-fire-over-changes-to-constitution/77579.aspx

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

– RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL

Another piece of the procedural rights puzzle to fall into place: Parliamentary committee votes to back Commission proposal on access to a lawyer
Europa Rapid: “A new law to guarantee the rights of all citizens to be advised by a lawyer when facing criminal proceedings in the European Union moved a step closer to adoption today after a vote by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) to support the Commission’s proposal. The new law would mean anyone who is a suspect – no matter where they are in the European Union – would be guaranteed the right to see a lawyer from the earliest stages of proceedings until their conclusion. The new rules would also ensure that anyone arrested has the opportunity to communicate with their family. If they are in another EU country, citizens would have the right to be in contact with their country’s consulate.

“EU citizens have the right to a fair trial, whatever their nationality and wherever they are in the Union,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. “We have built up a series of procedural rights in EU law and the right to be advised by a lawyer is a central part. I would like to thank the LIBE Committee for their support, and particularly the Rapporteur Oana Antonescu MEP. I count on the European Parliament and national Ministers to make sure that this proposal swiftly becomes a reality in European law and on the ground.”

Today’s vote by the LIBE Committee follows an agreement at a so-called trilogue meeting between the Commission and the EU’s two co-legislators (the European Parliament and the Council) on 28 May 2013 (MEMO/13/468). EU Justice Ministers then endorsed the agreement on the draft law at their meeting of the Justice Council on 6 June (see SPEECH/13/514).
It is the third in a series of Directives proposed by Vice-President Reding since 2010 to guarantee fair trial rights for citizens, wherever they are in Europe. The Directive on Access to a Lawyer (IP/11/689) is one of the key actions to improve citizens’ lives announced in the Commission’s 2010 EU Citizenship Report.
Next steps: The text will now pass to the European Parliament’s plenary session for approval, before formal adoption by the Council…”

EUROPEAN AREA OF FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE

– BORDER SURVEILLANCE

Commissioner Malmström welcomes LIBE Committee vote on EUROSUR
Europa Rapid: “I welcome the positive vote by the LIBE Committee on the EUROSUR Regulation. Today’s vote paves the way for a quick adoption by the European Parliament and the Home Affairs Council. Once formally adopted, the new system should be operational before the end of the year. EUROSUR will equip EU authorities with better tools to fight serious crimes, such as drug trafficking and human smuggling. EUROSUR also has the clear objective of making a serious contribution to the protection and saving of lives of migrants trying to reach European shores by sea and thus will help to diminish the unacceptable death toll.

These small vessels, mostly sea unworthy, are currently very difficult to detect and this often results in the loss of lives of migrants at sea. EUROSUR will considerably improve the information exchange and interagency cooperation within and between Member States in the field of border surveillance, by establishing national coordination centres. Information on incidents will be shared immediately by the Member States’ national coordination centres and the EU border agency Frontex, increasing their chances to prevent cross-border crime, detecting small vessels and to reduce the kind of tragedies that unfortunately we witness so often, especially in the Mediterranean Sea…”

EUROSUR: new tools to save migrants’ lives at sea and fight cross-border crime
Europa Rapid: “What is the aim of EUROSUR?
The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) aims at increasing coordination within and between Member States to reinforce border surveillance, prevent and tackle serious crime, such as drug trafficking and the trafficking of human beings. EUROSUR also aims to make a serious contribution to the protection and saving of lives of migrants trying to reach European shores by sea and thus will help to diminish the unacceptable death toll.

Under the EUROSUR mechanism, Member States’ authorities responsible for border surveillance (border guards, coast guards, police, customs and navies) will be able to exchange operational information and cooperate with each other, with Frontex and with neighbouring countries to fight serious crime and to intervene to save lives at sea. The use of the EUROSUR tools is strictly conditioned to the respect of fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non refoulement.

The increased exchange of information and the use of modern surveillance technology introduced by EUROSUR can be vital for saving the lives of migrants attempting to reach the shores of EU Member States in small and unseaworthy boats that are very difficult to track…”

Droits fondamentaux et migrants : quand les Nations Unies pointent l’Union européenne du doigt…
Gdr-Elsj: par Laura Delgado, CDRE; “Le Rapporteur spécial sur les droits de l’homme des migrants des Nations Unies, François Crépeau, a consacré la première année de son mandat à la réalisation d’une étude sur la gestion des frontières extérieures de l’UE et ses incidences sur les droits de l’homme des migrants. Cette étude, menée en consultation avec l’Union Européenne et ses Etats Membres vise à évaluer les avancées réalisées en matière de protection des droits de l’homme des migrants, ainsi que les obstacles et problèmes qui perdurent en la matière…”

– ASYLUM POLICIES & REFUGEE RIGHTS

UNHCR 2012 refugee statistics: full data
The Guardian: “The total number of people forcibly displaced worldwide has reached 45.2m people, the highest level in almost 20 years, according to a report published today by the UN’s High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The annual ‘Global Trends’ report shows that as of the end of 2012, more than 45.2m people were forcibly displaced compared with 42.5m at the end of 2011. Mark Tran writes today:
The world is in the throes of its most serious refugee crisis for almost 20 years, as conflicts in Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, the UN’s refugee agency has said.
In its global trends report (pdf), UNHCR said more than 45.1 million people were displaced last year, the largest number since 1994. This includes 15.4 million refugees [see footnote], 937,000 asylum seekers, and 28.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) – those forced to find refuge within the borders of their own countries.
Around 35.8m persons were of concern to the UNHCR by end 2012, the second highest number on record, according to their latest report. The highest figure since 1993, when recording keeping began, was in 2009 with 36.5m persons of concern.
Collectively referred to as “persons of concern”, the term used by the UNHCR includes refugees, asylum-seekers,returnees, stateless persons and certain groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs)…”

La directive retour à nouveau dans le prétoire de la CJUE : précisions quant à son applicabilité à un ressortissant d’Etat tiers ayant introduit une demande de protection internationale au cours de sa rétention.
Gdr-Elsj: par Marie Garcia, CDRE. “C’est par le biais d’une demande de décision préjudicielle introduite sur le fondement de l’article 267 TFUE, que la Cour de justice a pu répondre le 30 mai 2013, aux interrogations soulevées par la juridiction administrative suprême Tchèque, concernant l’applicabilité de la directive 2008/115 à un demandeur d’asile turc, M.Arslan.
Succédant aux jurisprudences El Dridi, Achughbabian et Sagor, relatives à la question de la pénalisation du séjour irrégulier, l’affaire C-534/11 explicite un point brièvement soulevé dans l’affaire Kadzoev. Dans cette première jurisprudence, la question de l’applicabilité de la directive « retour » à un demandeur d’asile avait été rapidement élucidée au détour de la question du calcul de la durée de la rétention. A cette occasion la Cour avait affirmé que le régime de la rétention à des fins d’éloignement et celui de la rétention ordonnée à l’encontre d’un demandeur d’asile, relèvent de régimes juridiques distincts. Ici, elle est amenée à préciser cette affirmation…”

Human rights spotlight on Swedish asylum cases
Human Rights Europe: “Next week, judgements from the European Court of Human Rights will place the spotlight on eight Swedish cases brought by 10 Iraqi failed-asylum seekers who live in fear of deportation.
The applicants are 10 Iraqi nationals who mainly originate from Baghdad or Mosul (Iraq) and are currently living in Sweden.
The two applicants in the cases D.N.M. and S.A. allege in particular that, if deported to Iraq, they would be at risk of being the victims of an honour-related crime following their relationships with women which had met with their families’ disapproval.
The applicants in the other six cases allege that, if deported to Iraq, they would be at risk of persecution on account of their being Christians, a religious minority in the country.
They all rely in particular on Article 2 (right to life) and/or Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment)…”

– JUDICIAL COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS

Suite et bientôt fin : la saga du mandat d’arrêt européen devant le Conseil constitutionnel
Gdr-Elsj: par Henri Labayle, CDRE. “Si cinquante et un jours avaient été nécessaires à la Cour de justice pour répondre à la question posée par le Conseil constitutionnel dans l’affaire Jeremy F, il n’aura fallu que deux semaines au Conseil constitutionnel pour en faire bon usage.
Le juge du palais Royal donne suite, le 14 juin 2013, à l’arrêt de la Cour par sa CC 2013-314 QPC qui déclare contraire à la Constitution l’absence de tout recours à l’encontre d’une décision d’extension des poursuites dans le cadre d’un mandat d’arrêt européen. La censure du législateur ainsi opérée renvoie le dénouement de l’affaire Jeremy Forrest devant le juge judiciaire, pour une dernière étape…”

– – FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

EU countries block blacklisting of Hezbollah
Euobserver: “A small group of EU countries has again blocked Britain’s bid to blacklist Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Diplomatic sources said Austria and the Czech republic led opposition at a meeting of EU countries’ counter-terrorism specialists in Brussels on Wednesday (19 June).
Ireland, Italy and Poland also voiced concerns.
Objections centre around shaky evidence that Hezbollah bombed a bus containing Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year.
The Bulgarian foreign ministry told EUobserver on Wednesday its investigation is incomplete.
Its spokesman, Dimitar Yaprakov, said Sofia is still waiting for “replies to the current judicial requests in connection with the Bulgarian investigation from our foreign partners.”
Some of the naysayers are worried the move might destabilise Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a popular political party.
The details of the British proposal – to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing, but not its political branch – are also posing problems.
“The Czech position is that it’s impossible to separate the military arm [of Hezbollah] from the civilian one,” an EU source said.
The talks are set to continue.
But Britain plans to kick them up a level, leaving aside the security specialists and turning to senior EU diplomats or foreign ministers instead.
EU foreign policy heavyweights France, Germany and the Netherlands back London.
Another EU diplomat said Wednesday’s talks saw more countries fall into the pro-sanctions camp…”

— ORGANISED CRIME

MEPs call for EU organised crime strategy
The Parliament: “MEPs have voted for a new European strategy and stronger instruments in an attempt to step up the fight against organised crime in the EU.
The mid-term report from parliament’s special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering was backed by parliament during a meeting in Strasbourg yesterday.
Chair of the special committee, Sonia Alfano, said, “This is a first contribution to indicate the way to put together an EU framework to combat organised crime.
“The battle against organised crime and corruption means guaranteeing freedom, safety and democracy to our citizens.”
The Italian MEP added that, “If we delay, we will give the advantage back to the criminal gangs threatening the very future of the European Union.”
The new plans would mean whistleblowers, informers and witnesses of mafia-style crime are protected EU wide.
MEPs also called for an EU-wide definition of the crime of participating in a mafia-style organisation and an end to bank secrecy.
S&D deputy Rita Borsellino said, “This mid-term report is an important step forward after months of intense work on hearings and fact-finding missions.
“However, it is only a first step as unfortunately organised criminals do not lack creativity and are always finding new ways to develop their illegal business.
“With this in mind, I believe that during the last months of its work the special committee on organised crime will have to pay extraordinary attention to the mafia’s new businesses, such as the crimes committed by the so-called ‘eco-mafias’ in the environmental sector.”…”

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This entry was posted in Asylum & refugees rights and policies, Borders control policies (Schengen), European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, Fight against terrorism, Fundamental rights – Charter, Judicial cooperation in criminal matters, Organised Crime, Values & Principles of the European Union and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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