Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 27

Posts Tagged ‘Cecilia Malmström’

Dramatic current events in Ukraine

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 4 dicembre 2013

English: Flag of the EU on the Government buil...

English: Flag of the EU on the Government building in Chisinau, Moldova. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In light of dramatic current events in Ukraine following the Vilnius Eastern Partnership summit one of the most surprising developments in recent years has received little attention. Moldova is set to be the first non-Baltic former Soviet republic to enjoy visa-free travel to the EU. In November 2013, the European Commission proposed to the member states to lift the visa requirements for short-term travel of Moldovan citizens. This puts Moldova ahead of all other countries in the East. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström announced:”The possibility to travel to the EU without a visa will further facilitate people-to-people contacts and strengthen business, social and cultural ties between the European Union and Moldova. It is my sincere hope that other Eastern partners seeking visa-free travel to the EU will continue to work towards achieving this important goal”. In June 2013 Moldova also concluded talks on its Association Agreement with the EU, including the establishment of a so-called “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” (DCFTA). The expectation is that the agreement will be signed in 2014. Moldova is thus the frontrunner. Ukraine, which concluded negotiations on the Association Agreement and DCFTA already in 2011, has recently suspended the process, triggering the current massive protests across the country.

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MEPs not convinced by positive reports of data exchange deals with the US

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 novembre 2013

Civil Liberties MEPs criticised Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström for “ignoring” Parliament’s call to suspend the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) deal with the US, in a debate on Wednesday. Most speakers asked for proof that the US had not breached the agreement and called for a data extraction system on EU soil to avoid sending bulk data to the US.”I have received no evidence that the TFTP agreement has been breached,” the Commissioner told MEPs, stressing that the entire College of Commissioners had decided on Wednesday to close the consultations with the US on the implementation of the TFTP agreement.”We cannot accept that the Commission simply ignores Parliament’s request” to suspend the TFTP agreement. This is a “severe interinstitutional problem”, said Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens/EFA, DE).”Before we close this chapter, we need to have an answer to these allegations,” Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) said. Sophie in’t Veld (ALDE, NL) echoed Mr Albrecht’s criticism and stressed: “I am not reassured at all. This chapter cannot be closed.”

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MEPs raise suspension of EU-US bank data deal

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 25 settembre 2013

United States Capitol

United States Capitol (Photo credit: Jack in DC)

MEPs raised the possibility of suspending or even terminating the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP), during the discussion on Tuesday about the NSA’s alleged tapping of the SWIFT company’s international bank-transfer data at the Civil Liberties Committee’s third hearing on US and EU countries’ surveillance schemes.Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told MEPs that she had not yet received satisfactory replies from the US authorities concerning the allegations. She said she had written to US Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen on 12 September to ask for clarifications, following the allegations in the press that the NSA had been tapping into personal financial data from SWIFT’s international bank-transfer database.
“I am not satisfied with the answers I got so far,” Ms Malmström told MEPs. “We need more information and clarity,” she said, adding that the Commission had requested formal consultations with the US under Article 19 of the TFTP agreement.Sophie in’ t Veld (ALDE, NL) agreed that the answers from the US were not sufficient. “For me the [TFTP] agreement is effectively dead (…) it is null and void,” she said, adding: “Approving an international agreement is like signing a blank check. (…) The only reason I had to support it no longer exists.”Other MEPs also raised the possibility of suspending or terminating the TFTP agreement. “Would you agree to suspend the agreement given the unclear answers from the US?” asked the committee rapporteur for the inquiry, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK). Parliament’s rapporteur for the TFTP deal, Alexander Alvaro (ALDE, DE), said that he would be in favour of suspension as a “minimum option”.Axel Voss (EPP, DE), said: “At this point we cannot simply withdraw” from the deal. “If media reports are true this constitutes a breach of the agreement and a breach of the agreement can lead to suspension,” replied Ms Malmström, clarifying that a decision to maintain or suspend the TFTP agreement “is a very serious one”.If after analysing all the information, the Commission deemed it necessary to propose a suspension, “this should be decided by qualified majority in the Council,” she said

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MEPs voice serious concerns over Russia’s request for air passenger data

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 15 giugno 2013

Russia’s requirement for European airlines to hand over passengers’ data is a “very worrying issue” that could create a precedent for other countries, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs in a debate with Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on Monday evening.In July 2012 the Russian Transport Ministry adopted a decree requiring European airlines to transfer air passengers’ data (also known as Passenger Name Record -PNR-) as from July 1st 2013. This also applies to over flights. Commenting on this, Ms Malmström said that “this measure will create huge problems for air carriers” because they are not allowed under EU law to send those data to third countries.Ms Malmström pointed out the need for a “long-term viable solution” and she warned that the Commission will “make the link” between the Russian request for PNR data and the planned review of the current visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Russia, which entered into force in 2007.The Commissioner also criticised the lack of information from the Russian authorities: “they did not tell us, we found out about it by ourselves”, she said. She also told MEPs that, due to technical issues, Russia will not start collecting PNR data on July 1st, “but we need guarantees that this will be suspended until we have all information we need”, she added. A technical meeting between the Commission and Russian officials will take place next week.”This is a very worrying issue”, said Véronique Mathieu (EPP, FR), who asked to “address the visa issue as leverage”. She also warned that airlines will have to bear the economic cost of this measure, also in terms of employment.”I’m highly sceptical about how this will fit in with the visa facilitation process”, commented Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL, DE).”Discussions must be based on an EU approach, rather than giving a random response to any particular case”, pointed out Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK). “It is a pity that we do not have an EU PNR system”, said Ms Mathieu, arguing that “if we could act together, we would be able to negotiate on a firmer footage”.”I’m very critical when it comes to the question of whether we need an EU PNR system”, highlighted Birgit Sippel (S&D, DE). “I’m against the use of PNR data without having any suspicion, it goes against the treaties and the [EU] Charter [of Fundamental Rights]”, commented Jan Albrecht (Greens/EFA, DE).”This could create a precedent for any other major country to begin their own PNR system”, explained Claude Moraes (S&D, UK).The EU concluded PNR deals with the US and Australia and a third one with Canada is being negotiated. Sophie in’ T Veld (ALDE, NL) said that “we have asked the Commission time and time again what it would do if other countries knocked at the door”. She also explained that the Commission refused in the past to start PNR negotiations with countries such as Qatar.”I don’t think that because we have PNR agreements with the US and Australia we need to have one with Russia”, Sarah Ludford (ALDE, UK) explained.Replying to MEPs’ questions, Commissioner Malmström pointed out that “we do not plan to enter into any PNR negotiations for the moment, but this has to be discussed on a case-by-case basis”. She also excluded the possibility to negotiate a PNR deal with Russia. “It is not on the agenda for the moment”, she concluded.Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs CommitteeIn the chair: Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES)

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EU fight against organised crime: first set of legislative measures and other actions to be approved

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 6 maggio 2013

The next meeting of the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM) will take place on Tuesday 7 May, in room JAN 4Q2. The committee will vote on the interim report drafted by CRIM rapporteur Salvatore Iacolino. Almost 750 amendments have been tabled.
The committee will also hold an interparliamentary committee meeting with representatives from the relevant national parliaments’ committees to debate their experiences and role in the fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering. The keynote speech will be given by Ms Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs. Mr Iacolino will also address the meeting.

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Schengen governance and technology: MEPs and experts to debate state of play

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 marzo 2013

Plans for reforming the rules governing the Schengen border check-free area, its current functioning and possible enlargement will be debated at a Civil Liberties Committee hearing on Schengen and border management on Wednesday and Thursday. Other issues to be discussed include the latest technological developments and the new “smart border” proposals.Free movement of citizens, considered one of the main achievements of the European integration, is today ensured in an area encompassing EU member states (except for the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania), Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.The hearing on Schengen will start on Wednesday at 17.00 with the state of play regarding Schengen governance, including an intervention by European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, and Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter.It will continue the next day at 9.00 with a state of play on technology, including the Schengen Information System (SIS) II, the Visa Information System (VIS) and biometric passports as well as further developments including the latest proposals on smart borders.

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