FREE News: 12-13 December 2013

* Hommage à l’Homme parmi les hommes, Nelson Mandela
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
– NON DISCRIMINATION

* Roma discrimination: end illegal expulsions and ethnic profiling, MEPs say
– LGBT RIGHTS
* EU court grants welfare rights to same-sex partners
EUROPEAN AREA OF FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE
– BORDER SURVEILLANCE

* Maritime surveillance : Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Manage
– IMMIGRATION POLICIES
* EU migrants face 100 new questions to make it harder to obtain benefits
– ASYLUM POLICIES
* EU failing Syria refugees, says Amnesty International report
– FRAUD AND CORRUPTION
* Romanian MPs decriminalise political corruption
MISCELLANEOUS
* Council of Europe issues report assessing progress by the Holy See on measures to combat money laundering

________________________________________________________

Hommage à l’Homme parmi les hommes, Nelson Mandela
Eu-Logos Athena: “Alors que les hommages, multiples, s’enchaînent les uns après les autres, se faisant concurrence dans les mots, la pointe d’esprit ou le petit point de détail biographique qui fait mouche, les faits sont là : Nelson Mandela s’est éteint en cette année 2013. On avait entendu le pessimisme quant à son état de santé, on s’était ému face aux déclarations de la famille, des amis et compagnons de route… bref on aurait pu y être préparé. Mais l’année 2013, pour le peu de ce qui lui restait de joli, ne pouvait décemment pas laisser partir celui qui rendait nos espoirs plus fleuris.

Pourtant, il faut s’y résigner, Madiba s’est éteint. Il s’est éteint pour ceux qui, ne connaissant pas son histoire ont pu , ne serait-ce qu’au moins un jour, relever son nom dans leur livre d’Histoire. Car la majuscule est importante : cet homme ne s’est point contenté de l’être au même titre que l’homme d’a côté, il est devenu l’Homme, celui dont la grandeur de la première lettre lui donne la hauteur qui le rapproche des divinités dans lesquelles on se plaît à croire. Que l’on ait sa biographie comme livre de chevet ou comme livre d’appoint, chacun sait, comme l’intuition qui pousse l’enfant à se mettre sur ses jambes que Mandela a poussé l’Afrique du Sud à se relever. Certains diront que c’était un grand homme au même titre que bien d’autres, mais c’est surtout parce qu’il a été un grand homme à l’inverse de bien d’autres qu’il faut le louer. On savait l’année 2013 bien noire par les Noirs dont le regard ne cesse de se noircir. Intolérance, racisme, xénophobie, nous retombons dans les vices qui ont par le passé créé tant de malheur.

De l’Homme récompensé justement de sa majuscule, il nous reste le symbole. Il nous rappelle que dans un monde qui cause notre peine et en même temps notre perte, un individu peut devenir l’individu unique, celui là même qui a été la source du changement. Difficile de nous lamenter sur notre quotidien quand on apprend quel fût le sien : si la rancoeur n’est guère source de bonheur, peut être avons-nous oublié comment nous consoler de nos malheurs. Or lui, la rancœur, il n’en a pas conservé la moindre trace : à tous, il a tout pardonné. Il nous propose la réconciliation comme un mode vie de tous les instants, dans la réflexion et dans l’action…”

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

– NON DISCRIMINATION

Roma discrimination: end illegal expulsions and ethnic profiling, MEPs say
European Parliament News: “EU countries must stop illegal expulsion of Roma people and end ethnic profiling, police abuse and human rights violations perpetrated against them, says Parliament in a non-binding resolution adopted on Thursday. It assesses member states’ strategies to boost Roma integration and calls for more funds to prevent discrimination and reach small community projects.

The resolution condemns attempts by EU countries to unlawfully limit the right of Roma people to freedom of movement in the EU. With an estimated population of 10 to12 million in Europe (approximately 6 million living in the EU), Roma people are the biggest ethnic minority in Europe.

More money, better spent

The Commission and member states must ensure sufficient funding for Roma integration, from both national budgets and EU programmes such as the European Social Fund or the European Regional Development Fund. MEPs also suggest providing special grant schemes, such as flexible and small funds for community projects.

The EU executive should continue assessing how member states spend EU funds earmarked for Roma integration and report its findings to Parliament and Council every year, MEPs suggest.

EU-wide monitoring

Parliament urges the Commission to monitor the fundamental rights of Roma, anti-Roma actions and hate crime against Roma throughout the EU. It should take legal action, they say, if these rights are violated, especially concerning freedom of movement and residence, access to healthcare and education, non-discrimination, protection of personal data and the ban on creating registers based on ethnicity and race.

Education and jobs

Member states must put an end to segregation in education and the placement of Roma children in special schools, the resolution says. Ensuring quality education for all Roma children, preventing early school-leaving and guaranteeing access to the Erasmus programme are among their priorities.

EU countries should avoid discrimination in employment, make it easier for Roma people to access the job market and set up specialised training schemes. MEPs also urge the European institutions to create specific internship programmes and employ Roma people…”

– LGBT RIGHTS

EU court grants welfare rights to same-sex partners
Euobserver: “Workers in civil partnerships are entitled to the same benefits as married couples, the European Court of Justice has ruled, in a case that could have a profound impact on employment contracts and welfare regimes across the bloc.

In a judgement on Thursday (12 December), the Luxembourg-based court found that denying equal rights to benefits amounted to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The ruling comes in response to a case lodged in 2012 by Frederic Hay, a French bank worker with Credit Agricole. Hay brought the case after being denied extra days of leave and a salary bonus given to newly-wed employees, despite entering a civil solidarity pact (PAC) with his partner in 2007.

PACs were introduced in 1999 to give legal recognition to same-sex couples but did not offer the same benefits as to married couples.

Same-sex marriage did not become possible in France until earlier this year, when the French parliament adopted legislation on the issue despite protests from some church groups.

In a statement, the Court said that the failure of the collective agreement to offer identical benefits to same-sex couples who were not able to marry “gives rise to direct discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

“The situation of persons who marry and that of persons of the same sex who cannot enter into marriage and therefore conclude a PAC is comparable for the purpose of the grant of the benefits in question,” it added…”

Also on the same topic :

ECJ says gay couples should receive the same marriage benefits as straight couples
http://www.neurope.eu/article/ecj-says-gay-couples-should-receive-same-marriage-benefits-straight-couples.

La justicia europea concede derechos laborales a una pareja de hecho gay
http://sociedad.elpais.com/sociedad/2013/12/12/actualidad/1386847860_799752.html.

EUROPEAN AREA OF FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE

– BORDER SURVEILLANCE

Maritime surveillance : Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Manage…
Via Statewatch: “The objective of the Union policy in this context is to ensure the efficient monitoring of the crossing of the Member States’ external borders, through, among other means, border surveillance. This draft Regulation shall apply to border survveillance operations carried out by Member States at their sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by Frontex.”

– IMMIGRATION POLICIES

EU migrants face 100 new questions to make it harder to obtain benefits
The Guardian: “Income-related benefits such as housing benefit, income support and council tax benefit are to be harder for EU migrants to obtain from Friday as they face a string of 100 questions, including the reasons they were unable to find a job in their home country. They will also be asked about their ability to speak English.

The new 100 questions in the fresh habitual residence test is being rushed out ahead of the transitional controls on Romanians and Bulgarians being lifted on 1 January.

The European Union insists on the free movement of workers within the EU, but the government believes it is legally entitled to ask tougher questions of migrants before they are entitled to make benefit claims…”

– ASYLUM POLICIES

EU failing Syria refugees, says Amnesty International report
BBC: “European leaders should be ashamed by the paltry numbers of refugees from Syria they are prepared to resettle, human rights group Amnesty says.

Only 10 member states have offered to take in refugees and even then only 12,000, it complains. The UK and Italy have offered no places at all, it adds.

But the UK government says it is focusing on the region and is one of the biggest international donors.

European Union aid has reached 1.3bn euros (£1.1bn; $1.7bn), officials say.

The bloc says its priority is providing help to Syria’s internally displaced people, now thought to number 6.5 million, and those hosted in other countries.

The UN estimates almost 2.3 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries since March 2011.

Most Syrians who have fled their country have travelled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. But some 6,000 this year have reached EU member state Bulgaria, which has appealed for financial help from Brussels in responding to the influx.

In September, Sweden became the first EU member state to offer Syrian refugees permanent residence. More than 14,000 Syrians have sought asylum there in the past two years.

Germany has resettled 1,000 refugees and plans to admit another 9,000…”

Also on the same topic :

Amnesty International: EU’s shameful response to Syrian refugee crisis

http://www.neurope.eu/article/amnesty-international-eus-shameful-response-syrian-refugee-crisis.

– FRAUD AND CORRUPTION

Romanian MPs decriminalise political corruption
Euobserver: “The Romanian parliament on Tuesday (10 December) exempted top politicians and lawyers from corruption crimes, in a move which flies in the face of agreements with the EU.
The snap amendments, voted without parliamentary debate, say that the country’s President, senators, members of the lower chamber, as well as lawyers, are no longer to be considered “public officials.”
This in turn means they can no longer be held to account for abuse of office, bribery, conflicts of interest and other corruption crimes.

Those who have been convicted may walk free if the law comes into force.
With many ministers also being parliamentarians and lawyers, the new immunity extends to government members.
Meanwhile, mayors and other local officials would no longer be held liable for conflicts of interest.
Romanian President Traian Basescu, who still has to sign the law for it to be enacted, on Tuesday promised to send it back to the parliament.
But he can only do so once and the parliament is not obliged to take his objections into account.

“I thank them for thinking about me, but I don’t need it,” Basescu quipped in reference to the exemption, which also applies to his office.

“This change means 10 years of regress,” he added in a press conference in Bucharest.

According to the Romanian anti-corruption prosecutor’s office (DNA), 28 members of the Romanian parliament have been convicted or are currently on trial for corruption.
In addition, over 100 mayors and vice-mayors are on trial for awarding public contracts to family and friends or for similar abuses…”

MISCELLANEOUS

Council of Europe issues report assessing progress by the Holy See on measures to combat money laundering
Council of Europe: “Strasbourg, 12.12.2013 – The Council of Europe’s Committee of experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism ( MONEYVAL) today published a report presented by the Holy See (including the Vatican City State) concerning the progress it has made to remedy the deficiencies identified by MONEYVAL in its first mutual evaluation report in 2012.

The report was published together with a detailed assessment of this progress by MONEYVAL with regard to the 16 core and key Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Recommendations 2003. Both documents were adopted this week at MONEYVAL´S 43rd plenary meeting, and take into account developments up to 30 November 2013.

MONEYVAL concludes that a very wide range of legislative and other measures have been taken in a short time by the Holy See to remedy deficiencies identified by the 2012 MONEYVAL report in all areas of the AML/CFT framework, though certain issues still need to be addressed. The following are its main findings:

– The legal structure for criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing, and related confiscation, is in place and much improved but still needs to be tested in practice.

– A new and more comprehensive system for freezing terrorist assets pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1373 is now operational.

– There are review processes in place to ensure that the financial institutions within the Holy See/Vatican City State know who their account holders are and that full customer identification and verification measures are applied to them, in line with international standards. The process is being conducted under the supervision of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA). It is planned to be completed by the first quarter of 2014. It has resulted in accounts being closed and a significant number of suspicious transaction reports in 2013. These are being analysed by the FIA and, where appropriate, referred to the Promoter of Justice.

– The powers of the FIA in its analyses of suspicious transaction reports are now much clearer. MONEYVAL welcomes the restoration of the FIA’s autonomy to negotiate memorandums of understanding, and the conclusion of such memorandums with financial intelligence units of 6 countries. MONEYVAL notes that the FIA’s resources for the operational handling of its analytical work needs re-assessing in the light of current and projected workloads…”

This entry was posted in Asylum & refugees rights and policies, Borders control policies (Schengen), European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, Fraud and Corruption, Fundamental rights – Charter, Immigration policies, Irregular immigration, Non discrimination, equality and minority integration, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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