FREE News: 26th November 2014

Data retention

Yesterday, 25th November 2014, the European Parliament voted a resolution, with 383 votes to 271 (47 abstentions), on seeking an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. Concerns have been raised, in fact, by several members of EP about the observance of human rights.

According to Jan Philipp Albrecht, “There are serious doubts about the legality of the planned EU-Canada PNR agreement and it is very welcome that MEPs have recognised this and referred the agreement to the European Court. The mass collection and storage of air passenger data, with no suspicion, is disproportionate and undermines basic rights, with no evidence it helps in combating terrorism. The EU must take the concerns with the PNR concept seriously. If the ECJ confirm doubts with legality of the EU-Canada agreement, this would also have clear implications for similar agreements with the USA and Australia, which would also have to be stopped”. Read the full article here ; more on this topic on the EUObserver and on European Parliament Press Releases;


The European Union approach to migration was discussed yesterday in the plenary, where the chief of the LIBE Committee Claude Moraes opened the discussion, following the Pope Francis’ speech. He said that “more must be done to prevent further loss of life at sea”.

As reported in Neurope (read the full article here) the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos underlined the need for “more solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility among member states” […]for “properly fulfilled search and rescue duties, safe and legal routes for refugees into the EU and better cooperation with third countries”. Referring to the Pope’ speech, moreover, he affirmed that the “strong signal he sent us, was received” (EUObserver).

Freighter with 700 migrants being towed to CreteA Greek navy frigate was towing a crippled freighter with hundreds of migrants on board through gale-force winds and high waves to safety on the southern island of Crete on Wednesday, a day after it suffered engine failure in international waters […]”(Neurope); read more on the EUObserver link;

“UK’s Clegg and Germany’s Gabriel to discuss benefit curbs for EU migrants” :

“[…]UK PM Cameron will set out his plans to restrict EU migration in a speech next week”

Human rights

Parliament marks 25th anniversary of landmark children’s rights treaty

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The milestone will be marked with a debate in Parliament this afternoon. Ahead of today’s debate, Parliament vice-president Mairead McGuinness […]” said that “in 25 years we have achieved a lot, a great deal more needs to be done to honour our commitment made to children all those years ago” (see the EP press releases).

Sakharov Prize: Denis Mukwege received the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize 2014 for freedom of thought during the plenary of 26th November.

“EP President Martin Schulz expressed his admiration and deepest respect for Dr Mukwege’s work as a medical doctor and his campaign for women’s dignity and justice and peace in his country. “The impunity for rape in armed conflicts is something that must be brought to an end,” said Schulz. “It needs to be punished just like every other war crime.


In his acceptance speech, Dr Mukwege told MEPs that by awarding him the Sakharov Prize they had drawn “the world´s attention to the need to protect women during armed conflicts, you have refused to be indifferent to one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes of modern times.

(see the European Parliament press releases)

Read here the interview to Denis Mukwege


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