Russia to oppose EU sinking of migrant smuggler boats
Russia has indicated it will block UN approval of EU plans to sink migrant smugglers’ boats, but says the disagreement isn’t linked to Ukraine.
Vladimr Chizhov, its EU ambassador, told press in Brussels on Tuesday (5 May) that “apprehending human traffickers and arresting these vessels is one thing, but destroying them would be going too far”.
“We can’t support going as far as destroying ships, well, basically without a court order from courts in the country whose flag flies on that particular vessel – that would be in contravention of all existing norms of international law”.
He noted the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, discussed the issue with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, last week at the UN Security Council in New York, where Moscow holds a veto. (read more here)
France plays down German spying accusations
“Paris opted for discretion to try and deflect criticism from France’s new Intelligence Bill, ahead of the law’s adoption in parliament on Tuesday (5 May).
The revelations published by Der Spiegel, of suspected espionage against the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and various businesses by the German BND agency, in collaboration with the NSA, have deeply worried defenders of legal rights and businesses alike.” (read more here)
Fair trials: MEPs strengthen EU-wide standards for legal aid
“People who are suspected or accused of a crime, or are named in a European Arrest Warrant, but cannot afford a lawyer or court proceedings, should have access to EU member state funding and assistance for both “provisional” and “ordinary” legal aid, say Civil Liberties MEPs in amendments, voted on Wednesday, to a proposed EU directive on fair trial rights.
MEPs broadened the draft directive’s scope to include the right to “ordinary legal aid” for suspects or accused persons facing criminal justice. This would entitle those who cannot afford a lawyer to member state “funding and assistance” to meet part or all of the costs of their defence and of court proceedings. Legal aid should be provided “at all stages of the criminal justice process”, MEPs say. They also set out strict provisions to clarify when minor offences would be excluded from the directive’s scope. ” (read more here)