Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 302

Posts Tagged ‘law’

Visa reciprocity with the US: the Commission must comply with EU law and act

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 18 luglio 2020

Citizens of four EU member states still need a visa to travel to the US. MEPs call on the Commission to take the measures foreseen in EU legislation in order to ensure full visa reciprocity.With 37 votes to 21 and 6 abstentions, the Civil Liberties adopted on Tuesday a draft resolution urging the Commission to present a delegated act suspending for 12 months the visa waiver for US nationals, as established in the so-called reciprocity mechanism.Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are the four EU countries whose nationals are required to hold a visa to enter the US, while the rest of EU citizens are exempted of that requirement for short-stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period), as are US nationals when visiting the Union.
According to EU legislation, if a third country does not lift the visa requirements within 24 months of a formal notification of a situation of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a delegated act suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months. Both the European Parliament and the Council could object to such delegated act.The situation of non-reciprocity affecting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania was formally raised on 12 April 2014 (at the time, Poland was also concerned, but Polish citizens can travel to the US visa-free since last year), so the deadline for the Commission to act expired on 12 April 2016.The Parliament already requested the Commission to comply with the rules in a plenary resolution adopted in March 2017.MEPs underline that “the issue at stake is (…) one of solidarity between EU member states”, but also “an institutional one in which the Parliament and the Council are currently deprived of their prerogative” of an adequate involvement in the application of the reciprocity mechanism.The draft resolution also stresses that the reintroduction of visa requirements for US citizens would only be effective in case of no objection by the Parliament or the Council to the delegated act (Article 290(2) of the Treaty).

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Rule of law in Poland: MEPs point to “overwhelming evidence” of breaches

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 18 luglio 2020

The Civil Liberties Committee is set to adopt a draft resolution on the continuing deterioration of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Poland.Following Tuesday’s vote on amendments, the draft interim report will be tabled for final approval at committee level on Thursday morning, by chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES).The text focuses on the functioning of the legislative and electoral system, the independence of the judiciary and the rights of judges, and the protection of fundamental rights in Poland.MEPs are deeply concerned that the situation in Poland has seriously deteriorated since Article 7 was triggered, despite hearings held with the Polish government in the Council following the December 2017 European Commission proposal, multiple exchanges of views with MEPs, alarming reports by the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, and four infringements procedures launched by the Commission.
the constitutional revision powers taken on by the parliament since 2015, the use of expedited legislative procedures, as well as recent developments pertaining to changes to the electoral law and elections organised during a public emergency;
broad changes to the country’s judiciary, enacted during the last few years, ranging from the way appointments are made, to disciplinary procedures, posing a serious risk to judicial independence;
the situation of fundamental rights, particularly freedom of expression, media freedom and pluralism, academic freedom, freedom of assembly and association;
the de facto criminalisation of sexual education, as well as hate speech, public discrimination, violence against women, domestic violence and intolerant behaviour against minorities and other vulnerable groups, including LGBTI persons, and the drastic limitation, coming close to de facto banning of abortion and limiting access to emergency contraceptive pills.
Consequently, it “calls on the Council and the Commission to refrain from narrowly interpreting the principle of the rule of law, and to use the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU to its full potential […] for all the principles enshrined in Article 2 TEU, including democracy and fundamental rights”. Noting that the last hearing in the Council “was held as long ago as December 2018”, the text urges the Council “to finally act […] by finding that there is a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU, in the light of overwhelming evidence thereof”.

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Rule of Law in Poland: concerns continue to grow among MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 maggio 2020

The attacks on the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in Poland need to be addressed urgently, say a majority of MEPs in the Civil Liberties Committee.
In a committee debate on Monday, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) presented his draft interim report on the December 2017 European Commission proposal to act in view of the perceived threats to the independence of the judiciary in Poland. He pointed to the recent worrying developments in the country related to the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights.
Afterwards, the President of the European Association of Judges, José Igreja Matos, and a representative of the Polish judges association IUSTITIA, Joanna Hetnarowicz-Sikora, presented a series of concerns linked primarily to judicial independence and the rule of law. They also mentioned other worries around democracy and elections, as well as fundamental rights (especially those of minorities), such as the freedom of speech and assembly, and their curtailment in light of the pandemic.
Most MEPs shared the concern over the state of EU core values in the country. They referred to a systematic and continuing attack against judicial independence and democratic institutions, which poses a threat to the very structure of the EU, and called for decisive action by the Council and the Commission, including budgetary measures, in order to protect EU core values.
Some speakers mentioned that further input from the Polish authorities is necessary to have a balanced debate, while several references were made to the need for an independent, permanent EU mechanism to ensure that monitoring processes in the area of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights remain impartial and objective.
MEPs have until 28 May to table amendments to the draft interim report. The committee will vote on the text in July, with the plenary vote scheduled in September 2020.

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The pandemic is no excuse to weaken democracy and the rule of law, MEPs say

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 24 aprile 2020

The Civil Liberties Committee hosted four discussions on Thursday on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. Speakers from across the political spectrum warned that important values such as democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights must not be jeopardised by pandemic-related emergency measures, and that decisive action by the European Commission and the Council is needed to safeguard them.In the morning, MEPs exchanged views with Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, the Croatian Presidency of the Council and Polish Ombusdman Adam Bodnar. The afternoon debates included an update by the Democracy, Rule of law and Fundamental rights Monitoring Group on recent developments, and two exchanges of views with Commissioner Reynders: one on the emergency measures taken in all member states with a focus on Hungary, and another on the state of play of the EC annual Rule of Law Report.Almost all MEPs who took the floor expressed very serious concerns about the “increasing grip of the executive on the judiciary” in Poland, despite the Polish Minister’s assurances that the reforms were not out of sync with existing provisions in other EU member states. Particular concerns were raised in relation to the implementation of the , ordering the suspension of ongoing disciplinary proceedings against judges. Many MEPs also condemned the adoption on 23 January of reforms that Supreme Court President Malgorzata Gersdorf denounced as a “muzzle law”.Much of the debate focused on the risk posed by holding elections while civil rights are being restricted due to the pandemic and the corresponding media environment, although some arguments were presented about democracy being respected by putting in place postal voting provisions for all citizens. MEPs and some guest speakers highlighted that relevant legal reforms are not in line with Poland’s constitution and the standards set by the international community as regards the organisation of free and fair elections. Similar concerns were voiced in relation to potential legal reforms on hate speech and LGBTI rights, especially as civil society is currently unable to react.Most MEPs are particularly concerned about recent developments in Hungary in relation to the government’s increased powers, with many also worried about other issues, including media freedom, the rights of civil society, discrimination against vulnerable groups and corruption in the country. A majority among them, echoed by Commissioner Reynders, highlighted the need for measures taken in Hungary and all other EU member states in response to the pandemic to be proportional, of limited duration, and necessary.Many committee members also expressed their worry over measures taken by governments across the EU in a diverse range of fields, from access to public documents to social media oversight by national authorities, and from media freedom to sex education, reproductive rights and the rights of the LGBTI+ community. A few speakers, including Committee Chair Lopez Aguilar and Commissioner Reynders, highlighted that respect for data protection and privacy must remain a priority in developing apps to monitor and contain the spread of the pandemic.A majority of MEPs who took the floor criticised the Commission and the Council for failing to act decisively on most fronts, including in completing ongoing Article 7(1) procedures, initiating cases on the infringement of EU law, and issuing rule of law guidelines for COVID-19 emergency measures. Some speakers, including Commissioner Reynders, also drew links between EU funding and adherence to the EU principles enshrined in the Treaty.

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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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Malta and Slovakia: serious shortcomings in the rule of law

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 febbraio 2019

The Civil Liberties Committee adopted on Tuesday a draft resolution summarising the conclusions of the working group set up within the Civil Liberties Committee to monitor the situation of rule of law in the EU, particularly in Malta and Slovakia, following the murders of journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.MEPs condemn the “continuous efforts of a growing number of EU member states’ governments to weaken the rule of law, the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary”. They underline that the assassinations of Ms Caruana Galizia in Malta and of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kušnírová in Slovakia, and the murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova in Bulgaria, had “a chilling effect on journalists” across the EU.
MEPs urge the Maltese government to set up a full and independent enquiry into the murder of Ms Caruana Galizia and demand that all libel cases brought by members of the government against her and her family be withdrawn.They denounce that the Prime Minister´s chief of staff and the current Minister of Tourism are “the only acting high-ranking government officials in any EU member state who were found to be beneficial owners of a legal entity revealed in the Panama Papers”. They insist that all suspected government links with opaque structures, such as Egrant and the “17 Black” company, deserve to be investigated.
The text points to the many shortcomings in the rule of law in the country identified by the Venice Commission and urges the Maltese government and Parliament to implement all of the Commission’s recommendations without exception.Regarding the investor citizenship and residence schemes -which allow foreigners to gain residence or citizenship rights in Malta in exchange for a large investment-, MEPs want them terminated without delay, as these programmes pose “serious risks” to the fight against money laundering and “result in the actual sale of EU citizenship”.
MEPs acknowledge the progress made in the investigation into the murder of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kušnírová, but insist it should continue both at national and international level. They also demand in-depth investigations into all the alleged cases of corruption and fraud brought up during their inquiries in the country.The resolution voices concern about the allegations of corruption, conflicts of interest, impunity and revolving doors in Slovakia’s circles of power. It also warns against the politicisation and lack of transparency in selection and appointment processes, such as for the position of Head of the Police.The draft resolution was passed by the Civil Liberties Committee with 40 to 7 and 6 abstentions. It will be put to the vote by the full House in the March II plenary session (25-28 March) in Strasbourg.

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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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Rule of law in Hungary: MEPs demand swift action from EU ministers

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 14 novembre 2018

MEPs urge EU ministers to determine if Hungary is at risk of breaching the EU values and to invite the European Parliament to a formal Council meeting. Ahead of the EU ministers meeting today, Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) and MEP Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL) discussed the Parliament’s position on the rule of law in Hungary in a preliminary meeting with Member States representatives. In September, the Parliament asked EU member states to initiate the procedure laid down in EU Treaty Article 7 to determine whether Hungary is at risk of breaching the EU´s founding values. Mr. Moraes said: “Today together with the Rapporteur, Judith Sargentini, we were present for a first exchange of views in a preparatory briefing with Members States representatives – which however can in no way be considered a formal Council meeting.” “We thank the Austrian Presidency for organising today’s meeting, and especially the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Sweden that were represented at ministerial level for their interest and cooperation. However, we have to emphasize that we await a more appropriate and formal Council meeting for handling a matter of the highest significance for the rule of law within the EU”, Mr. Moraes stressed.Ms. Sargentini, who authored the Parliament’s report on Hungary, said: “An overwhelming majority of the Parliament supported my report in September. It is a clear signal that we must draw a line when it comes to breaches in a Member State of our shared European values of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. It is now to the Member States to act in a swift, open and effective manner.” “The time taken by the Council to figure out the process does not improve the situation. To the contrary, new worrying developments have taken place in Hungary since the adoption of my report, such as a new law that would undermine the independence of the Hungarian judiciary even further”, Ms. Sargentini noted.“At todays’ meeting, I appreciated the critical questions from the ministers on the situation of civil society in Hungary and on the way the Parliament and myself as rapporteur have been treated by the Hungarian authorities. We count on the support of the Member States present at this morning’s informal meeting to push for Parliament to present its report in a formal Council meeting”, Ms. Sargentini concluded.
Rule of law in Poland and Hungary are the first items on the agenda of the General Affairs Council meeting. Ministers will also hold the annual rule of law dialogue today.

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Rule of law in Malta: MEPs demand police investigate all corruption allegations

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 27 gennaio 2018

maltaMalta’s police must investigate all corruption allegations, particularly at the highest political level, to end the perceived impunity in the country, MEPs say.Members of the Civil Liberties Committee and the former Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (PANA) on Thursday discussed the conclusions of a fact-finding mission to Valletta last month to assess the situation of the rule of law and several allegations of corruption and money laundering.Maltese Minister of Justice Dr Owen Bonnici attended the meeting, as did two of the sons of the journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a bomb attack in October 2017.Most of the MEPs criticised the lack of police action, despite the very serious evidence of maladministration involving even members of the Maltese government, and considered the situation in Malta a source of concern for the whole of the EU. Many pointed to the lack of transparency of the Citizenship by Investment programme. Some speakers also asked for more time to get a full and clear picture of what is going on in the country.Mr Bonnici regretted that MEPs are not taking account of the significant reforms adopted by the Maltese government to address corruption and assured them that all serious allegations are being investigated. “It is completely false that this government has put the rule of law in the dustbin”, he stated.

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Competition Law, IP and Regulation in the Pharmaceutical Sector

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 8 novembre 2017

Interno farmacia

Roma Giovedì 9 Novembre 2017, ore 14:30 Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza, Sala del Consiglio Via Ostiense 163 avrà luogo il convegno sul tema “Competition Law, IP and Regulation in the Pharmaceutical Sector”.  Program:
14,30 – Welcome address: Antonietta Di Blase (Vice Dean, Department of Law, University of Roma Tre) Introduction: Giovanni Pitruzzella (President, Italian Competition Authority)
15,00 – First session Chair: Margherita Colangelo (University of Roma Tre) Keynote speaker: Michal Gal (University of Haifa) Pay-for-Delay and No-Contest Clauses in the Pharmaceutical Sector Speakers: Emanuela Arezzo (University of Teramo) Patents between incentive towards innovation and strategic gaming Claudia Desogus (Italian Competition Authority) Competition authorities’ recent experience on excessive prices in pharmaceuticals Second session
16,00 – Roundtable Chair: Giandonato Caggiano (University of Roma Tre) Speakers: Ginevra Bruzzone (Assonime) Francesco Mazza (Farmindustria) Francesca Mastroianni (Italian Medicines Agency – AIFA) Pietro Merlino (Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP) Gabriella Muscolo (Italian Competition Authority) Serena Sileoni (Istituto Bruno Leoni)
Conclusions: Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich (University of Roma Tre)

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EU-US deal on law enforcement data transfers backed by Civil Liberties Committee

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 26 novembre 2016

corte di giustizia europeaThe EU-US data protection framework, known as the “Umbrella Agreement” was backed by a large majority in the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday morning. The deal will ensure high, binding data protection standards for data exchanged by police and law enforcement authorities across the Atlantic. The Umbrella Agreement covers the transfer of all personal data, such as names, addresses or criminal records, exchanged between the EU and US for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, including terrorism.“This is a big step forward for transatlantic data protection”, said lead MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens, DE) after the committee approved his recommendation of the agreement by 41 votes to 4, with 6 abstentions. “In future there will be high, binding standards and strong individual rights will apply when it comes to the exchange of data between police and law enforcement authorities”.
“The agreement represents the start of a new way to negotiate high transatlantic standards on fundamental rights instead of the incomplete, fragmented and very low ones seen so far. It was crucial for Parliament’s approval to have a binding clarification that the Umbrella Agreement is not a legal basis for new data transfers, and that data protection authorities can always check compliance”, he added.The agreement ensures that citizens on both sides of the Atlantic will have the right to:
• be informed in the event of data security breaches,
• have inaccurate information corrected and
• seek judicial redress at court.
It also sets limits on onward transfers of data and retention periods.

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China’s new Cybersecurity Law. Stricter regulations for companies, greater powers for the state

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 8 novembre 2016

pechinoDespite criticism from abroad, China has passed its controversial Cybersecurity Law. The new law will come into effect in June 2017 and gives the government broad powers to protect and control so-called critical information infrastructure. However, the law is vague and lacks detail on specific security measures. Foreign companies are concerned that they may have to share their source code with Chinese authorities. They also worry that data localisation requirements might increase the danger of industrial espionage and intellectual property violations.MERICS cybersecurity expert Nabil Alsabah explains what is at stake.
What is the Cybersecurity Law all about?
The Cybersecurity Law is the latest addition to a series of laws and regulations aimed at strengthening network security and tightening information control and censorship in China. The law introduces measures to ensure the protection of “critical information infrastructure” – such as energy and water supply – from hackers and cyber sabotage. It also confirms previous censorship rules in the name of “protecting political stability” and “national security”. The law gives the government the right to shut down the internet during crises, as it once did during the unrest in Xinjiang in 2009.In 2015 China passed a Counter-Terrorism Law which requires companies to provide access to the data of terror suspects. The National Security Law, also adopted last year, laid down the principle of “cyber sovereignty” — the notion that China can regulate “its” internet as it wishes. The Cybersecurity Law is part of this broader framework.
How does the cybersecurity law affect foreign companies doing business in China?
The law affects foreign companies that sell hardware and software solutions to China’s critical infrastructure operators. Those operators are in the future only allowed to purchase IT products that have passed a cybersecurity review, probably administered by the Cyberspace Administration of China. It is unclear whether foreign companies must reveal software source code during the review process.The new law classifies the following areas as critical: communication infrastructure, energy, transport, water supply, finance, public utilities and e-government services. The law also mentions unspecified areas that might affect “national security”, the “citizens’ well-being” or “public interest”. Such vague language could allow authorities to arbitrarily classify more and more areas as “critical”.The data localisation requirement is another challenge for foreign companies. The law stipulates that data, such as user data, collected by critical infrastructure operators must be stored within China’s borders. Foreign businesses are concerned that this requirement increases the risk of industrial espionage and intellectual property theft.
Foreign companies have criticized the draft law for months. Have their concerns been addressed?
The legislator did not compromise on the data localisation requirement or the cybersecurity review for IT products sold to critical infrastructure operators. These two issues were the biggest concerns for foreign companies. However, under certain circumstances companies may be exempted from the data localisation requirement. However, details are not clear.Showing strength can pay off too. Apple, for example, has successfully refused to share source code with the Chinese state – without any repercussions.Overall, the new law lacks transparency and creates uncertainty. Its precise effects remain to be seen and depend on implementation.

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MEPs call for EU democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights watchdog

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 26 ottobre 2016

European UnionTo end the current “crisis-driven” approach to perceived breaches of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member states, the EU Commission should set up a binding EU mechanism to monitor and report annually on their records in these fields, say MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. This mechanism should include objective benchmarks and lay down a gradual approach to remedying breaches, they add.“We have provided the European Union with the instruments to enforce all the other policy areas – competition policies, police and justice cooperation, foreign policies (…), but our core values are not protected by instruments that are sufficiently strong to make sure that the values are upheld throughout the European Union”, said lead MEP Sophie in’t Veld (ALDE, NL), in the debate ahead of the vote. Her legislative initiative was passed by 505 votes to 171, with 39 abstentions.The new EU mechanism should ensure that all EU member states respect the values enshrined in the EU treaties and set clear, evidence-based and non-political criteria for assessing their records on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights (DRF) in a systematic way and on an equal footing, says the resolution text.Parliament’s proposal for an EU mechanism on DRF aims to incorporate existing DRF tools in a single instrument and ensure that they are used to the full. It also aims to bridge the apparent gap between DRF monitoring in EU candidate countries and the lack of effective tools vis-à-vis those that are already EU member states. Finally, it provides for regular DRF debates in the EU institutions and national parliaments.Parliament asks the Commission to present a proposal by September 2017 for a Union Pact for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights in the form of an inter-institutional agreement aligning and complementing existing mechanisms. The Commission will have to give a reasoned reply to Parliament’s request.

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MEPs to Reform Electoral Law of EU

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 12 novembre 2015

electoral lawOn Wednesday evening, the European Parliament will vote on proposals for future electoral reforms to enhance the democratic nature of the European elections. Among these measures we find:
– The possibility for all EU citizens living abroad to vote in European elections.
– The increase of electronic, online ad postal voting.
– The increase of gender balance in voting lists.
– The lowering of the voting age to 16.
– The nomination of lead candidates to preside the European Commission.

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Hungary: MEPs condemn Orbán’s death penalty statements and migration survey

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 11 giugno 2015

The European Parliament asks the European Commission to assess the situation in Hungary and to establish an EU mechanism to monitor democracy, the rule of law and human rights annually across the EU, in a resolution voted on european parliamentWednesday. Reinstating the death penalty in Hungary would breach the EU Treaties and Charter of fundamental rights, and the wording of the Hungarian government’s public consultation on migration is “highly misleading, biased and unbalanced”, it says.In the resolution wrapping up the 19 May plenary debate with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, MEPs condemn Mr Orbán’s repeated statements on the possibility of reinstating the death penalty in Hungary and stress the duty of prime ministers to “lead by example”.The death penalty is “incompatible with the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights on which the union is founded”, they stress, adding that any member state reintroducing the death penalty would be “in violation of the Treaties and of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights”. They note that a serious breach by a member state would trigger the EU Treaty Article 7 procedure, which could lead to the withdrawal of its voting rights in the Council.MEPs also denounce the Hungarian government’s public consultation on migration. Although “public consultation can be an important and valuable tool for governments to develop policies”, “the content and the language used in this particular consultation is “highly misleading, biased, and unbalanced; establishing a biased and direct link between migratory phenomena and security threats”, they say.They call on the Commission to “immediately initiate an in-depth monitoring process on the situation of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary and to report back on this matter to the European Parliament and Council before September 2015”.The Commission is also asked to present a proposal to establish an EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, as a tool for ensuring compliance with and enforcement of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaties as signed by all member states, MEPs say. They also instruct Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to help elaborate this proposal by drafting a non-binding resolution to be voted by Parliament as a whole by the end of this year.The resolution was passed by 362 votes to 247, with 88 abstentions.

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Sexuality and Gender Law

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 2 ottobre 2010

New York The Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic has urged the European Court of Human Rights to recognize and respond to intersectional discrimination, a form of discrimination based on an individual’s combination of characteristics, such as race and sex together, rather than on a single trait. The clinic submitted to the court a “third-party intervention,” a legal document similar to an amicus brief, in partnership with the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) Centre.The police forbade her, but not white women in the vicinity, from standing on the street, according to a press release from Women’s Link Worldwide, a women’s rights organization that helped Solomon initially pursue her case in Spain. When multiple Spanish courts dismissed her case, Solomon brought her case before the ECHR. Her plight highlights the discrimination that can occur at the intersections of race, sex, and social status, clinic students said.  The intervention shows that intersectional discrimination is a recognized form of discrimination within Europe and also highlights American and Canadian cases in which the courts have identified and responded to such discrimination.   “We hope our intervention will help prevent the injustices likely to result when courts use a single-ground approach to analyze a case that involves discrimination on multiple grounds,” noted Erin Meyer ’11.Columbia Law School’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic addresses cutting-edge issues in sexuality and gender law through litigation, legislation, public policy analysis and other forms of advocacy. Under the guidance of Professor Suzanne Goldberg, clinic students work on a wide range of projects, from constitutional litigation to legislative advocacy to immigration cases, to serve both individual and organizational clients in cases involving issues of sexuality and gender law: http://www.law.columbia.edu/sexuality-gender-law-clinic.

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Space law: past, present and future

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 29 maggio 2010

Roma 31st may 2010, h. 15.30 Palazzetto di Venezia – Piazza San Marco 51, SIOI Conference on Space law: past, present and future The European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) The Institute for International Legal Studies (ISGI) Italian ECSL- NPOC The Italian Society for International Organisation (SIOI) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) Speakers: Philippe Achilleas Université Paris Sud-11 Elisabeth Back Impallomeni University of Padua Christian Brünner University of Graz Frans von der Dunk University of Nebraska Lincoln Juan Manuel de Faramiñán Gilbert University of Jaén  Armel Kerrest de Rozavel University of Western Brittany  Jean François Mayence Belgian Federal Office for Science Policy – Brussels Chairman:  Sergio Marchisio  ECSL President

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Opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 16 luglio 2009

Judge Sonia Sotomayor made her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee and moved another step closer to taking a seat on the United States Supreme Court. In case you missed it, watch the video of her opening statement here: As President, there are few responsibilities more serious or consequential than the naming of a Supreme Court Justice, so I want to take this opportunity to tell you about the qualifications and character that informed my decision to nominate Judge Sotomayor. Judge Sotomayor’s brilliant legal mind is complemented by the practical lessons that can only be learned by applying the law to real world situations. n the coming days, the hearings will cover an incredible body of work from a judge who has more experience on the federal bench than any incoming Supreme Court Justice in the last 100 years. Judge Sotomayor’s professional background spans our judicial system — from her time as a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator, to her work as a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court, and an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  And then there is Judge Sotomayor’s incredible personal story. She grew up in a housing project in the South Bronx — her parents coming to New York from Puerto Rico during the Second World War. At the age of nine, she lost her father, and her mother worked six days a week just to put food on the table. It takes a certain resilience and determination to rise up out of such circumstances, focus, work hard and achieve the American dream.  This character shined through in yesterday’s opening statement: Watch the video. In Judge Sotomayor, our nation will have a Justice who will never forget her humble beginnings, will always apply the rule of law, and will be a protector of the Constitution that made her American dream and the dreams of millions of others possible. As she said so clearly yesterday, Judge Sotomayor’s decisions on the bench “have been made not to serve the interests of any one litigant, but always to serve the larger interest of impartial justice.”  In anticipation of today’s first round of questioning, I hope you’ll share this email widely, because Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation is something that affects every American. It’s important for these hearings to be about Judge Sotomayor’s own record and her capacity for the job — not any political back and forth that some in Washington may use to distract you. What members of the Judiciary Committee, and the American people, will see today is a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into breaking from the rule of law. (Barack Obama)

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