FREE News: 4th December 2014

The latest news in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and the External AFSJ

JHA: Immigration centres are new cash cow for Italian mafia (EUObserver)

Italian police on Wednesday (3 December) uncovered a mafia network in Rome said to have extorted millions of euros from programmes designed to help the city’s most vulnerable.


Accommodation standards for asylum seekers in Italy has steadily worsened over the recent years, according to a special commission in the Italian senate for protection and promotion of human rights.

In Italy from 2011 a progressive deterioration of the accommodation standards for asylum seekers has been registered, which has worsened since 2012 and 2013,” it noted last year. The conditions are so bad that administrative courts in Germany have suspended transfers to Italy “owing notably to the risk of homelessness and a life below minimum subsistence standards,” according to a report by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe. Italy, for its part, also has no structural legislation on reception conditions and no uniform reception system.

Read the entire article on the EUObserver link

JHA: Italy seen as corrupt as Greece, Romania and Bulgaria (EUObserver)

Italy, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria are seen as equally corrupt among EU countries, while Denmark is the least graft-prone country, according to the yearly corruption perception index published by Transparency International on Wednesday (3 December). The index scores and ranks countries around the world based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. Finland and Sweden also score well, coming in directly after Denmark, according to the index which relies on a combination of surveys and assessments. Even as EU countries have higher scores than countries like Russia, Ukraine or Turkey, Transparency International notes that in 2014 there were numerous scandals in “old Europe”. In France, Spain and Italy they included a former president, a current regional president and members of the royal family, “not to mention dozens of politicians and influential business people“.

Read here the full article


AFSJ: Defeat is most likely result of UK immigration arms race (EUObserver)


Earlier this week, Labour announced plans under which EU nationals in Britain would only be entitled to unemployment benefits after two years. For his part, Cameron has also spent months thinking of ways to restrict migration from eastern Europe and access to welfare benefits. He would like to impose a cap on the total number of EU migrants and wants out-of-work EU nationals to prove they can find a job after six months on benefits or risk losing the security net. Faced by this public sentiment, the reaction by the two major parties is understandable. But that doesn’t mean that it is good politics.


Emergency call system for cars will start no later than 31 March 2018 (Neurope)

An EP/Council deal on a life-saving automatic emergency call system for cars, agreed on Monday evening, was backed by Internal Market Committee MEPs on Thursday.The “eCall” system would use the 112 number to call the emergency services automatically, enabling them to reach crash scenes faster and thus save lives and reduce the severity of injuries. The deal would require all new car models to be equipped with eCall technology from 31 March 2018.


MEPs strengthened the draft law’s data protection clause to preclude tracking of eCall-equipped vehicle before the accident occurs. Under the agreed deal, the automatic call would give the emergency only a basic minimum data such as the class of vehicle, the type of fuel used, the time of the accident and the exact location. MEPs also amended the draft law to ensure that data gathered by emergency centres or their service partners must not be transferred to third parties without explicit consent of the person concerned, the “data subject”. Manufacturers will also have to ensure that the eCall technology design permits full and permanent deletion of data gathered. Clear information about the processing of eCall data would have to be included in the car owner’s manual and available online, MEPs added.


See also the European Parliament PRESS RELEASE

The introduction of an emergency call system for cars have been already discussed by the LIBE Committee in a meeting held in Brussels on 11th November 2014.

JHA: Data protection and presumption of innocence

For a background, see the Council of the European Union’s PRESS RELEASE

Progress was made by justice ministers on the EU data protection framework. The Council reached a partial general approach on specific aspects of the draft regulation setting out a general EU framework for data protection. The partial general approach includes provisions which are crucial to the question of the public sector as well as provisions relating to specific data processing situations. The Council also held a debate on the “one stop shop” mechanism on the basis of a proposal presented by the Presidency. A majority of ministers endorsed the general architecture of the proposal and the Presidency concluded that further technical work will need to be done in the coming months.

Andrea Orlando, Italian Minister for Justice and President of the Council, said: “Today we have agreed on two of the most politically sensitive issues on data protection reform. We see this as an important result for the Presidency, and a decisive step towards achieving global agreement on this complex and important file“. (Read here the original document)

NEW EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION SUPERVISORThe task of the European Data Protection Supervisor is to ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, and in particular their right to privacy, are respected by the EU institutions and bodies.

See the Council of the European Union Press Release

As preannounced also by Agence Europe, the Council have reach a general approach on “the proposal for a directive on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings (16531/14). The purpose of this directive is to enhance the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings by laying down minimum rules on certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings. This general approach constitutes the basis for negotiations with the European Parliament in order to agree the final text of the directive.” (See the PRESS RELEASE of the 3354th Council Meeting on Justice and Home affairs to read more about this topic and about all the issues discussed during the meeting held in Brussels on 4th December 2014).

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