Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 229

Posts Tagged ‘E.U.’

Whistleblower: approvate norme UE per proteggere gli informatori

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 18 aprile 2019

Chi divulga informazioni su attività illegali o dannose, acquisite nel contesto lavorativo, sarà protetto più efficacemente, dopo l’approvazione in via definitiva di nuove norme UE.La legislazione, adottata con 591 voti favorevoli, 29 contrari e 33 astensioni e già concordata con i ministri UE, stabilisce nuove regole a livello europeo per proteggere gli informatori che rivelano l violazioni del diritto comunitario in settori quali appalti pubblici, servizi finanziari, riciclaggio di denaro, sicurezza dei prodotti e dei trasporti, sicurezza nucleare, salute pubblica, protezione dei consumatori e dei dati.
Per garantire la sicurezza dei potenziali informatori e la riservatezza delle informazioni divulgate, le nuove norme consentiranno di comunicare le segnalazioni: all’interno dell’ente interessato (come un’azienda), direttamente alle autorità nazionali competenti, nonché agli organi e le agenzie competenti dell’UE. Pertanto, tali canali di comunicazione dovranno essere creati sia dalle aziende sia dalle autorità nazionali.Nei casi in cui non siano state adottate delle misure adeguate in risposta alla segnalazione iniziale di un whistleblower, o qualora si ritenga che vi sia un pericolo imminente per l’interesse pubblico o un rischio di ritorsione, l’informatore sarà comunque protetto in caso decidesse di divulgare pubblicamente le informazioni, senza passare attraverso questi canali (cfr. più sotto).La legge vieta esplicitamente le rappresaglie e introduce delle salvaguardie, per evitare che chi denuncia sia sospeso, declassato e intimidito o che si trovi ad affrontare altre forme di ritorsione. Saranno tutelati anche coloro che assistono gli informatori, come i facilitatori, i colleghi e i parenti.Gli Stati membri dovranno garantire che gli informatori abbiano accesso gratuito a informazioni e consulenze complete e indipendenti sulle procedure e sui mezzi di ricorso disponibili, nonché all’assistenza legale nel corso del procedimento. Durante i procedimenti giudiziari, gli informatori potranno ricevere sostegno finanziario e psicologico.

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Improving data exchange between EU information systems

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 18 aprile 2019

New measures to improve data exchange between EU information systems to manage borders, security and migration were adopted by MEPs.The new rules will make EU information systems used in security, border and migration management interoperable enabling data exchange between the systems. This will facilitate the tasks of border guards, migration officers, police officers and judicial authorities by providing them with more systematic and faster access to various EU security and border-control information systems.The main elements of the new legislation are:
European search portal allowing simultaneous searches, rather than searching each system individually;
Shared biometric matching service for cross-matching fingerprints and facial images from several systems;
Common identity repository providing biographical information such as dates of birth and passport numbers for more reliable identification;
Multiple identity detector, detecting whether a person is registered under multiple identities in different databases.
Furthermore, proper safeguards will be in place to protect fundamental rights and access to data.
The systems covered by the new rules would include the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS) and three new systems: the European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).The rules on interoperability between EU information systems focusing on borders and visa were adopted by 511 to 123, 9 abstentions. The legislation on interoperability between EU information systems focusing on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration was approved 510 to 130, 9 abstentions.The new rules have already been agreed upon by the Parliament and Council negotiators in February. After the formal approval of the Council, member states will have two years to adopt the new rules.

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Strengthening the security of ID cards in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 7 aprile 2019

With at least 86 different versions of identity cards and 181 types of residence documents in circulation in the EU, the aim of the new rules is to deter the use of fraudulent documents that can also be used by criminals to enter the EU.The updated rules, already agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators in February, will set new security standards for EU ID cards:Common minimum security features across the EU for ID cards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO); the country code of the member state issuing them will be indicated on the ID card inside an EU flag.
Making a facial image and two fingerprints stored on a chip in the card mandatory for citizens’ ID cards; children under the age of 6 years are always exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints and member states have the possibility of providing the exemption to children up to the age of 12.
ID cards that do not meet these requirements would stop being valid when they expire (i.e. would be renewed with the new format) or at the latest 10 years after the application of the new rules. ID cards that do not have a machine-readable zone, such as Greek ID cards, would expire within five years.Only member states already issuing ID cards to their nationals would be affected by the new rules. The measures would not make it compulsory to own an ID card or oblige member states to introduce ID cards.Rapporteur Gérard Deprez (ALDE, BE) said : “The new rules will facilitate the free movement of people in the EU, reduce bureaucracy and reinforce EU’s internal security. It is important to note that they won’t allow for the creation of a database of biometric information. I’m also very happy about the addition of an EU flag on ID cards and the words “EU citizen” on residence documents.”The new rules were adopted by 335 to 269, 21 abstentions. The text still needs to be formally approved by the Council before entering into force.The new rules will become applicable two years after their publication. They will have to be reviewed by the Commission every six years with a particular focus on fundamental rights, the mobility of EU citizens and the effectiveness of biometric verification in ensuring the security of travel documents.

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Visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals after Brexit: vote in committee

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 5 aprile 2019

Civil Liberties MEPs will vote on Wednesday on the proposal to exempt UK citizens of visa requirements to enter the EU for short stays after Brexit.
The Civil Liberties Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday at 8.30, with the vote on the UK visa waiver as the single item on the agenda. MEPs will vote on the outcome of the trilogue negotiations.If approved, UK nationals will be exempted from visa requirements for stays in the EU of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, from the day following the country’s withdrawal from the Union, provided the UK offers the same conditions to EU nationals travelling to the UK.
The proposal was endorsed on Tuesday by the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER). If approved by the Civil Liberties Committee, it will be put to the vote by the full House on Thursday 4 April. The legislation needs to be adopted and published in the Official Journal of the EU before the 12 of April, for the case of a no-deal Brexit on that date.

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Brexit preparedness: EU completes preparations for possible “no-deal” scenario

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 29 marzo 2019

Brussels.As it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April, the European Commission has today completed its “no-deal” preparations.At the same time, it continues supporting administrations in their own preparations and urges all EU citizens and businesses to continue informing themselves about the consequences of a possible “no-deal” scenario and to complete their no-deal preparedness. This follows the European Council (Article 50) conclusions last week calling for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency. While a “no-deal” scenario is not desirable, the EU is prepared for it. Following a request by Prime Minister Theresa May, the European Council (Article 50) agreed on Thursday 21 March to extend the UK’s departure date to 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons by 29 March 2019 at the latest. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons by then, the European Council has agreed to an extension until 12 April 2019. In that scenario, the United Kingdom would be expected to indicate a way forward before this date.While the European Union continues to hope that it will not be the case, this means that if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified by Friday 29 March, a “no-deal” scenario may occur on 12 April. The EU has prepared for this scenario and has remained united throughout its preparations. It is now important that everyone is ready for and aware of the practical consequences a “no-deal” scenario brings.In a “no-deal” scenario, the UK will become a third country without any transitionary arrangements. All EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from that moment onwards. There will be no transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. This will obviously cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses.
In such a scenario, the UK’s relations with the EU would be governed by general international public law, including rules of the World Trade Organisation. The EU will be required to immediately apply its rules and tariffs at its borders with the UK. This includes checks and controls for customs, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and verification of compliance with EU norms. Despite the considerable preparations of the Member States’ customs authorities, these controls could cause significant delays at the border. UK entities would also cease to be eligible to receive EU grants and to participate in EU procurement procedures under current terms. Similarly, UK citizens will no longer be citizens of the European Union. They will be subject to additional checks when crossing borders into the European Union. Again, Member States have made considerable preparations at ports and airports to ensure that these checks are done as efficiently as possible, but they may nevertheless cause delays.
Since December 2017, the European Commission has been preparing for a “no-deal” scenario. It has published 90 preparedness notices, 3 Commission Communications, and has made 19 legislative proposals (see below). The Commission has held extensive technical discussions with the EU27 Member States both on general issues of preparedness and contingency work and on specific sectorial, legal and administrative preparedness issues. The Commission has now also completed its tour of the capitals of the 27 EU Member States. The aim of these visits was to provide any necessary clarifications on the Commission’s preparedness and contingency action and to discuss national preparations and contingency plans. The visits showed a high degree of preparation by Member States for all scenarios.
Member States have also been engaged in intensive national preparations. An overview of residency rights in the EU27 Member States is available here, as well as direct links to national preparedness websites.
To date, the Commission has tabled 19 legislative proposals. 17 proposals have been adopted or agreed by the European Parliament and the Council. Formal adoption of all those files by the European Parliament and Council is currently taking place. Two proposals are to be finalised by the two co-legislators in due course.As outlined in the Commission’s Brexit Preparedness Communications, the EU’s contingency measures will not – and cannot – mitigate the overall impact of a “no-deal” scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership or the favourable terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. These proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They are not “mini-deals” and have not been negotiated with the UK. The EU has maintained – and will continue to maintain – a fully united position throughout its preparations, and during any possible “no-deal” period.

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Council strongly criticised over failing to act to protect EU values in Hungary

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 26 marzo 2019

In the debate with the Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Political and Security Committee Permanent Representative Călin Stoica, on behalf of the Romanian Presidency, most of the Civil Liberties Committee MEPs who joined the debate expressed their frustration with the Council’s lack of willingness to act to protect EU values, or cooperate with Parliament in this direction.They highlighted that Parliament has been raising the situation in Hungary for almost a decade and that urgent action is required to avoid further deterioration of democracy and the rule of law in the country, as well as the proliferation of these practices across EU member states.MEPs regretted that the Council has failed on several occasions to put the proposal by the Parliament to determine whether Hungary is at risk of breaching EU values on its agenda, or even provide a timetable, despite their repeated public requests. They asked once again that the Council formally include committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) and rapporteur Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL) in relevant conversations of the General Affairs Council meeting, instead of merely providing information in a fragmented, informal manner and only after the MEPs’ persistent efforts.In September 2018, Parliament requested that the Council assess whether Hungary is posing a systemic threat to the EU’s founding values. Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union aims to ensure that all EU countries respect the EU’s common values, including the rule of law. The continuing deterioration of EU values in Hungary, including judicial independence, freedom of expression, corruption, rights of minorities, and the situation of asylum seekers, remain key concerns.

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Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 24 marzo 2019

MEPs endorsed on Thursday the position of the Civil Liberties Committee to triple the funds allocated in the long-term EU budget (2021-2027) for the Rights and Values Programme, up to 1.834 billion euros (the European Commission had proposed €642 million). Parliament’s mandate to start negotiations with EU ministers was approved with 426 votes to 152 and 45 abstentions. With a general objective to protect and promote the rights and values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty through support to civil society organisations at local, regional, national and transnational level, the Programme seeks to promote equality and non-discrimination, encourage citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic process, and fight violence.MEPs decided to specifically mention the protection and promotion of democracy and the rule of law as the main aim, as these are a prerequisite for protecting fundamental rights and for ensuring mutual trust among member states and of citizens’ trust in the European Union, says the text.Regarding the activities to be funded with EU money, Parliament suggests awareness-raising campaigns on European core values and the rights and obligations derived from EU citizenship. Initiatives to reflect on the factors that lead to totalitarian regimes occurring and to commemorate their victims were also suggested. MEPs also want to support town-twinning projects, human rights defenders and whistle-blowers, measures countering hate-speech and misinformation, and protection of victims of violence, among others.
MEPs agreed that, in exceptional cases, when there is a serious and rapid deterioration of the situation in a member state and the founding values are at risk, the European Commission may open a call for proposals, under a fast-track procedure, to fund civil society organisations to facilitate and support the democratic dialogue in the country.
Protection of democracy and fundamental rights, with a focus on gender equality
Civil Liberties MEPs backed on Thursday – with 31 votes to 3 and 3 abstentions – the partial agreement reached with the Council of the EU on the Rights and Values Programme for the next budgetary period (2021-2027). Both institutions agreed to rename it Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme and that its purpose should be “to nurture and sustain a rights-based, equal, open, pluralist, inclusive and democratic society”.
The Programme will continue seeking to promote equality and non-discrimination, encourage citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic process, and fight violence, through support to civil society organisations at local, regional, national and transnational level.At the initiative of the EP, the protection and promotion of democracy and the rule of law will be specifically mentioned as the main aim, given that these are a prerequisite for protecting fundamental rights and for ensuring mutual trust among member states and of citizens’ trust in the European Union.MEPs managed to include, among the initiatives to be funded, remembrance activities on Europe’s historical memory, that allow to reflect on the causes of totalitarian regimes, in particular Nazism, Fascism, Stalinism and other communist regimes, as well as commemoration of their victims. Other actions that may receive support are town-twinning projects and those meant for the protection of victims of violence, particularly women and girls.
The promotion of gender equality, including the fight against gender-based violence and active support to women’s rights organisations, will be a central element of the Programme. The text notes that tackling stereotypes and promoting equal access to work and the elimination of barriers to career progression are key. It points in this regard that focus should be put on work-life balance and on equal sharing of unpaid household and care work between men and women.
The budgetary allocation for this Programme will be determined once there is a final agreement on the full texts for the next EU budget for 2021-2027. Negotiations will have to be carried out by the next European Parliament, on the basis of this partial agreement and the mandate adopted by plenary last January, which called for a significant increase of its financial envelope, up to €1.834 billion euros (instead of the €642 million proposed by the Commission).

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EU’s circular economy plan spurs growth

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 10 marzo 2019

The European Union has announced that it has fully implemented its Circular Economy Action Plan, a wide-ranging series of actions adopted in 2015 and aimed at reducing waste and improving the efficient use of resources. The measures included new rules on waste management, and restrictions on single-use plastics and fishing gear, as well as incentives for innovation and recycling.A report assessing the impact of the action plan found that moving towards circular economy models had spurred job creation within Europe, with a 6 per cent increase jobs in related sectors over the past four years. In 2016, the report found, circular economy activities, including repair, reuse and recycling accounted for €17.5 billion (US$19.8 billion) worth of investments.“Circular economy is key to putting our economy onto a sustainable path and delivering on the global Sustainable Development Goals,” first vice-president Frans Timmermans said. “This report shows that Europe is leading the way as a trailblazer for the rest of the world. At the same time more remains to be done to ensure that we increase our prosperity within the limits of our planet and close the loop so that there is no waste of our precious resources.” (by cmail20.com)

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Civil Liberties MEPs back rules improving data exchange between EU information systems

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 febbraio 2019

The new rules aim to improve data exchange between EU information systems used in security, border and migration management. They will facilitate the tasks of border guards, migration officers, police officers and judicial authorities by providing them with more systematic and faster access to various EU security and border-control information systems.Civil Liberties MEPs backed the deal regarding borders and visa information systems by 43 in favour, 11 against, no abstentions and the agreement on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration information systems by 44 in favour, 10 against, no abstentions.
The agreed texts now needs to be formally approved by the Parliament as a whole and the Council of the EU before entering into force.

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Migration and asylum: EU funds to promote integration and protect borders

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 febbraio 2019

MEPs backed on Tuesday increasing the EU budget for migration and asylum policies and to reinforce borders.The Civil Liberties Committee endorsed the renewed Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the 2021-2027 budget of which will increase up to €9.2 billion (€10.41 billion in current prices, 51% more than in the previous financial framework). It also backed the creation of a new Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF) and agreed to allocate €7.1 billion (€8 billion in current prices) to it.The AMIF should contribute to strengthen the common asylum policy, develop legal migration, in line with the member states’ economic and social needs, contribute to countering irregular migration and ensure effective, safe and dignified return, readmission and reintegration in non-EU countries.But it should also ensure “solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility between the member states, in particular towards those most affected by migration challenges, including through practical cooperation”, MEPs state.MEPs also want to make sure that funds can be allocated to local and regional authorities, and to international and non‑governmental organisations, working in the field of asylum and migration.
IBMF will provide funding to build and enhance member states’ capacities in border management and visa policy. The funding dedicated to member states (60 % of the total envelope) will reflect their needs and take into account additional pressures. Furthermore, a new EU thematic facility (40% of the total envelope) will ensure flexibility to channel emergency funding to member states and EU-level projects when urgent action is needed.
MEPs also added safeguards to ensure that actions and measures funded through the Instrument comply with the EU’s fundamental rights obligations, in particular with the principles of non-discrimination and non-refoulement. (COMP 3) Both funds will operate in full synergy. They will also work closely with the reinforced Internal Security Fund (ISF) focusing on tackling terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime.
The draft proposal on the renewed AMIF passed with 40 votes to 7 and 6 abstentions. The new IBMF was backed by 41 MEPs, 9 voted against and 2 abstained. The full House will have to confirm its position in the first March plenary, ahead of the negotiations with the Council of the EU.

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Upgraded EU visa information database to enhance security at external borders

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 7 febbraio 2019

Committee would ensure a better EU response to security and migratory challenges. Visa Information System (VIS) is an EU database used by authorities to store issued visas, to verify that a person presenting a visa is its rightful holder and to identify persons found on the Schengen territory with no or fraudulent documents. The reform would enable the system to better respond to evolving security and migratory challenges and improve the EU’s external border management The Civil Liberties Committee agreed to the following changes to VIS: mandatory security checks across all databases (such as for example Eurodac and the Entry-Exit System) to detect applicants using multiple identities and identify anyone posing security or irregular migration risks;
inclusion of long-stay visas, including the so called golden visas, and residence permits in the database to close security information gaps;
the age for obtaining fingerprints and facial images of minors will be lowered from 12 to 6 years, to help identify and trace missing children and establish family links;
a more structured access to Europol and law enforcement authorities to VIS data for the prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist offences or other serious crimes or for the search and identifying of missing or abducted persons and victims of trafficking, and Quote.
Rapporteur Carlos Coelho (EPP, PT) said: “We are securing our territory before people reach our borders. We are enhancing the screening of third country nationals, including those with golden visas. We will have better tools for return. We will prevent child trafficking and better identify criminals and terrorists. This is a future proof VIS.”The draft report was adopted by 30, to 8, 3 abstentions on Monday. The Full House will likely vote on the draft report in the first March plenary.The Civil Liberties MEPs agreed that the new rules should become applicable two years after their publication. Eu-LISA agency will be responsible for the development and management of the upgraded VIS database.

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In a statement, green energy provider LichtBlick has called for the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 3 febbraio 2019

Germany Sees Red: Eon Becoming a New Energy Monopoly. Commission to block the mega-deal between RWE and Eon which would restructure the energy market. The statement was composed by the law firm Raue LLP, which specializes in competition law. “The plans of these two energy giants aim to put an end to the competitive electricity market in Germany. The victims of this are electricity customers who must take higher energy prices into account. The antitrust authorities must halt this plan,” says Gero Lücking, Managing Director of Energy Management at LichtBlick.Additional information, a map of Germany showing the market strength of the new Eon and detailed background information can be found at http://www.lichtblick.de/presse
LichtBlick is a green energy provider. Over one million members of the LichtBlick community have already set store in the pure energy of the pioneer and market leader for green energy and gas. With SchwarmEnergie®, the innovative company is developing digital energy solutions for homes and businesses. LichtBlick employees 460 people and generated a turnover of EUR 700 million in 2017. Info: http://www.lichtblick.de

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Antonio Tajani presenta: Stavolta voto Eu

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 31 gennaio 2019

Roma Il primo febbraio alle 17:00 all’Auditorium Parco della Musica di Roma presentazione della campagna istituzionale del Parlamento europeo per le elezioni del 26 maggio 2019
Ad accompagnare il Presidente, i volontari della campagna, il campione olimpico e mondiale di nuoto Massimiliano Rosolino, Chiara Tabani, argento olimpico alle Olimpiadi di Rio 2016 con il Setterosa e la capo di Gabinetto dell’Agenzia Spaziale Europea Elena Grifoni Winters. Il tenore Andrea Bocelli ha inviato un messaggio, che verrà letto durante l’evento, in cui sottolinea l’importanza dell’Europa Unita e l’importanza di supportare il suo progetto attraverso il voto.
Democrazia è partecipazione: tra il 23 ed il 26 maggio circa 400 milioni di cittadini europei sono chiamati ad eleggere i loro 705 rappresentanti a Strasburgo. Per l’Italia saranno eletti 76 eurodeputati. In vista di questo appuntamento, il Presidente del Parlamento europeo, Antonio Tajani, presenta la campagna StavoltaVoto.eu con l’obiettivo di informare i cittadini e promuovere la partecipazione al voto.Alla vigilia dell’evento il Presidente Tajani ha dichiarato: “Il Parlamento europeo è l’unica istituzione direttamente eletta dai cittadini e svolge un ruolo fondamentale nel tutelare i loro interessi. Un’Europa democratica ha bisogno della partecipazione degli elettori, che devono poter esercitare il loro diritto di voto sulla base d’informazioni complete e corrette. Questo è l’obiettivo della campagna StavoltaVoto del Parlamento europeo”.
Ad aprire e chiudere l’evento, moderato dalla giornalista del TG1 Laura Chimenti, il Coro Vivona dell’omonimo liceo di Roma.Con StavoltaVoto.eu, il Parlamento europeo ha deciso di puntare sui giovani chiedendo loro di trasformarsi in attivisti del voto. L’obiettivo di ognuno di questi volontari è quello di reclutare più persone possibile che si impegnino a recarsi alle urne a maggio in questo suffragio chiave per il futuro della UE. Alcuni di questi volontari saranno presenti il primo febbraio per raccontare la propria esperienza di attivisti per l’Europa.

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Deal on faster exchange of non-EU nationals’ criminal records backed by Civil Liberties MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 26 gennaio 2019

Civil Liberties MEPs approved on Wednesday the deal reached with Council on an EU database enabling EU countries to exchange non-EU citizens’ criminal records faster.Currently, national authorities often rely solely on data on non-EU nationals’ convictions available from their own national criminal record systems. The new centralised database on third country nationals (ECRIS-TCN) will improve the exchange of information on non-EU nationals’ criminal records throughout the EU and contribute to the EU-wide fight against cross-border crime and terrorism.The database will complement the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), which EU countries already use to exchange information on EU citizens’ previous convictions. Civil Liberties MEPs backed the deal on ECRIS-TCN in a vote on the respective regulation and directive. The informal agreement on the regulation was approved by 34 in favour, 11 against, 9 abstentions and the agreement on the directive by 37 in favour, 8 against, 9 abstentions. The agreed text now needs to be formally approved by the Parliament as a whole and the Council of the EU before entering into force.

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Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 21 gennaio 2019

EP wants to triple the budget for the Rights and Values Programme Fast-track procedure to support democratic dialogue where EU values are at risk The EU should do more to promote democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights across the EU, including through support to civil society organisations.MEPs endorsed on Thursday the position of the Civil Liberties Committee to triple the funds allocated in the long-term EU budget (2021-2027) for the Rights and Values Programme, up to 1.834 billion euros (the European Commission had proposed €642 million).
Parliament’s mandate to start negotiations with EU ministers was approved with 426 votes to 152 and 45 abstentions.With a general objective to protect and promote the rights and values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty through support to civil society organisations at local, regional, national and transnational level, the Programme seeks to promote equality and non-discrimination, encourage citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic process, and fight violence.MEPs decided to specifically mention the protection and promotion of democracy and the rule of law as the main aim, as these are a prerequisite for protecting fundamental rights and for ensuring mutual trust among member states and of citizens’ trust in the European Union, says the text.Regarding the activities to be funded with EU money, Parliament suggests awareness-raising campaigns on European core values and the rights and obligations derived from EU citizenship. Initiatives to reflect on the factors that lead to totalitarian regimes occurring and to commemorate their victims were also suggested. MEPs also want to support town-twinning projects, human rights defenders and whistle-blowers, measures countering hate-speech and misinformation, and protection of victims of violence, among others.
MEPs agreed that, in exceptional cases, when there is a serious and rapid deterioration of the situation in a member state and the founding values are at risk, the European Commission may open a call for proposals, under a fast-track procedure, to fund civil society organisations to facilitate and support the democratic dialogue in the country.

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EU fundamental rights under threat in several member states

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 18 gennaio 2019

MEPs condemn the rise of far-right movements and trivialisation of hate speech Migrants and asylum seekers’ fundamental rights violated in some EU countries. The European Parliament denounces gender violence and discrimination, breaches of rule of law and hate speech in its assessment of fundamental rights in the EU in 2017. In a non-legislative resolution adopted on Wednesday with 390 votes to 153 and 63 abstentions, MEPs call on EU institutions to effectively assess member states’ respect for rule of law and condemn limitations imposed on freedom of speech, as well as violations against migrants and asylum seekers’ fundamental rights in some EU countries.
The text condemns all forms of violence against women and urges member states that have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention to do so “without delay”. It supports the 2017 demonstrations against the regression of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as the extensive media coverage of sexual harassment cases.MEPs strongly condemn the actions taken in some EU countries to weaken the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, and denounce the EU institutions’ “ineffectiveness in putting an end to the serious and persistent breaches” of the European Union’s values. The rule of law must be regularly and impartially assessed based on objective criteria in all the member states, the resolution stresses.
The EP denounces the increasing restrictions to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in the EU, and highlights that whistleblowing is crucial for investigative journalism and press freedom. It also expresses its deep concern over the threats, pressures and risks journalists face in the EU.
MEPs warn that hate speech is being trivialised and strongly condemn the rise of far-right movements. They also underline the need to combat the rise of antisemitism and islamophobia, as well as the persistent discrimination and stigmatisation against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people (LGBTI) in the EU. Parliament also regrets that in 2017 there was “no major improvement” concerning integration and the fundamental rights of Roma people.
It finally urges Council to put an end to the current impasse on the Dublin Regulation reform. MEPs also encourage national authorities to facilitate the granting of humanitarian visas to those seeking international protection. They point to violations of migrants and asylum seekers’ rights in some EU countries, such as failing to provide migrants with effective access to asylum procedures or to give them clear information on legal remedies following a return decision.

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EU promotes ocean governance at United Nations General Assembly

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 dicembre 2018

By adopting these resolutions, the General Assembly calls on the international community to beef up implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and harmonize national legislation with it. It also reaffirms the importance of long-term conservation, management and sustainable use of the living marine resources.Strong ocean governance is a priority for the EU. Most if not all of the problems our ocean is faced with (climate change, pollution, overfishing…) are global by nature. We therefore need a common response from the global community, through international consensus and cooperation. As countries are turning increasingly towards the blue economy to support their development, strong action is more needed than ever.The EU therefore played an active role negotiating both resolutions. It underlined the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the overarching legal framework for ocean governance and its continuing contribution to rule of law, peaceful relations and sustainable development. The EU also welcomed the good progress achieved in the negotiations of the new UNCLOS implementing agreement for areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), better known as the ‘high seas’.
The EU also reiterated its strong commitment to conclude negotiations on fisheries subsidies in the context of the World Trade Organisation. It emphasized that harmful subsidies, which contributed to overfishing, overcapacity and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing are a major impediment to the achievement of sustainable fisheries.

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New EU short-stay visas: Parliament ready to begin talks

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 13 dicembre 2018

MEPs set the Parliament’s position ahead of the negotiation with the Council for an update of the EU Visa Code, which establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing visas to nationals of more than one hundred non-EU countries travelling to the EU for short periods (up to 90 days in any 180-day period). The text was approved with 401 votes to 222 and 40 abstentions,
MEPs want to facilitate legitimate travel for tourism, trade and business, whilst preventing irregular immigration and contributing to internal security. Among other changes, the Parliament proposes that:
some applicants may not need to present their applications in person and processing periods will be reduced;
travellers will be able to hand in applications at the consulate of another EU member state if the one responsible is neither present nor represented in a given third country or if the competent one is more than 500 km away from their place of residence;
travel health insurance will not be a prerequisite for requesting a visa;
the general visa fee will increase from 60 to 80 euros, with exceptions for some travellers, while children under 12, family members of EU nationals, students and researchers will have the fee waived;
it will be possible to apply for a visa up to nine months before the intended journey (instead of six months proposed by the Commission), and
additional facilities for artists and sports professionals touring in the EU and multiple entry visas for frequent travellers.Cooperation on readmission by third countries
Some provisions, such as the visa fees, the time taken to issue decisions on applications, and the period of validity of multiple entry visas, may be adapted depending on whether a given non-EU country shows “sufficient”, or alternatively “insufficient”, cooperation on readmitting irregular migrants, following a full and objective assessment by the European Commission.The EU ministers agreed their negotiating position last June. Talks between the colegislators are expected to begin before the Christmas break.

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The EU can more than halve emissions by 2030 by acting in just three sectors – report

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 7 dicembre 2018

Katowice, Poland The European Union could reduce its emissions by more than 50% by 2030 compared to 1990 by scaling up climate action in just three sectors: electricity supply, residential buildings and passenger road transport, according to a new analysis released today by the Climate Action Tracker.These three sectors account for around 60% of the EU28’s emissions. The report, “Scaling Up Climate Action: European Union” sets out a pathway for the EU to decarbonise all three sectors by mid-century, which would make its emissions trajectory Paris Agreement-compatible, and create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, improve health, and reduce expensive energy imports. The report is the second in the CAT’s new series of analyses that identify the most promising sectoral pathways for countries to achieve Paris Agreement 1.5˚C compatibility (1). It clearly shows that the most ambitious emissions reduction pathways presented in the recently published draft of the EU’s long-term climate strategy could not only be achieved, but would also come with significant co-benefits.“Our analysis shows the EU can—and needs to—ratchet up its 2030 target to make it consistent with the Paris Agreement,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics. “Decarbonising electricity is the key to decarbonising the economy. The EU’s first step must be to phase out coal by 2030, and many EU member states are well on the way to achieving this.”By the middle of this year, ten of the 28 EU member states—accounting for 26% of EU coal capacity—had already set 2030 coal phase-out goals. In addition, Germany and Spain, accounting for over 39% of EU coal capacity, are both considering phase out decisions.“Why should the EU increase its action? The IPCC has clearly shown that keeping warming to 1.5˚C will reduce negative climate impacts like the extreme heatwaves, drought and flooding that are already being felt in the region. If the EU weans itself off fossil fuels, it will also reduce air pollution and premature deaths,” said Hare. New EU policies—including the binding target of 32% for the share of renewable energy in overall total energy demand—would lead to a 48% share of renewable energy in electricity generation by 2030: a good step in the right direction, but still not consistent with the Paris Agreement.“The whole of the EU needs to – and can – move faster than best players in the region: Denmark has so far been the frontrunner for scaling up renewable energy and renovating buildings, Norway for electric mobility, and Austria and Czechia for public transport,” said Prof Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute.
The report concludes that the Paris Agreement 1.5oC compatible scenario would create up to 350,000 additional direct jobs between 2020 and 2030 in the electricity sector alone, particularly in wind and solar energy.To decarbonise its passenger road transport sector, the EU needs to increase the share of electric vehicles (or other emissions-free vehicles) in new car sales from today’s 2% to 100% in 2035, apply stringent CO2 emissions intensity standards for new vehicles, and increase public transport to the same kinds of levels as seen in Czechia and Austria.This means that no more internal combustion vehicles should be sold after 2035. Some member states such as Netherlands, UK, France, have adopted phase out targets around this time—others need to follow.“Road transport is responsible for 30% of the EU’s NOx emissions. Decarbonising the transport sector would not only help the EU become Paris Agreement-compatible, it would also significantly decrease the EU’s reliance on energy imports, and help reduce air and noise pollution,” said Yvonne Deng, of Ecofys, a Navigant company.With more than a third of the EU’s emissions coming from the residential buildings sector, the EU must increase both its building renovation rates and efficiency. With full electrification and phasing out fossil fuels for heating and cooling, this could result in an almost complete decarbonisation of the sector. In this sector, too, the whole of the EU needs to go further than the “best in class”—Denmark.

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EU Research and Innovation in our daily life

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 24 novembre 2018

Bruxelles i terrà il 27 novembre 2018 a Bruxelles, presso la sede del Parlamento Europeo, la Conferenza congiunta di Parlamento europeo e Commissione europea EU Research and Innovation in our daily life, che riunirà ricercatori, politici, rappresentanti delle istituzioni e dell’industria e vedrà la presenza di personalità come Antonio Tajani, Presidente del Parlamento europeo, Carlos Moedas, Commissario europeo per la Ricerca, la Scienza e l’Innovazione e Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Presidente del Consiglio europeo della Ricerca.
L’incontro intende stimolare gli investimenti nella ricerca, dando uno sguardo ad alcuni tra i maggiori traguardi che l’Unione Europea ha raggiunto in tema di ricerca e innovazione e che sono il risultato di un continuo dialogo tra le istituzioni europee, gli stati membri, le loro università e i centri di ricerca più importanti.A rappresentare la ricerca italiana di eccellenza il professor Luigi Naldini e il professor Alessandro Aiuti, direttore e vice direttore dell’Istituto San Raffaele-Telethon per la Terapia Genica (SR-Tiget), che presenteranno, attraverso il racconto dei genitori, la storia di Margaux, una bambina belga affetta da ADA-SCID, rara malattia genetica che compromette gravemente il sistema immunitario, e curata con successo grazie alla terapia genica sviluppata presso il SR-Tiget di Milano.Margaux oggi ha 5 anni ed è una dei 31 piccoli pazienti affetti da ADA-SCID trattati ad oggi con la terapia genica sviluppata dall’Istituto San Raffaele-Telethon, dal 2016 è divenuta un farmaco e la prima terapia genica con cellule staminali ematopoietiche a essere disponibile sul mercato.

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