Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 344

Posts Tagged ‘parliament’

The European Committee of the Regions calls on the European Parliament to secure a fair agricultural policy that can offer practical solutions to the environmental challenges

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 8 dicembre 2019

At a hearing held at the European Parliament on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Guillaume Cros (FR/PES), Vice-President of the Occitan Region and European Committee of the Regions rapporteur on the CAP, pointed out that according to the Court of Auditors report of 20 November, environmental aspects are not given sufficient weight among the many challenges to the future CAP that have been identified. The Committee of the Regions’ recommendations also match the aims of the Green Deal announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.The CoR rapporteur on Reform of the CAP emphasised that “we must radically change the way the next Common Agricultural Policy is implemented in order to meet the social, environmental and climate-related challenges and also build a Green Deal commensurate with the current challenges, in the interests of a fair, sustainable and solidarity-based CAP”. The CoR is calling for a minimum of 30% of first pillar funds to go to eco-schemes and proposes quantified, measurable and results-oriented European objectives by 2027 for the national Strategic Plans, as follows:
· a 30% reduction compared with 2017 in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in the Member State;
· a doubling compared with 2017 of the land area used for organic farming in the Member State, or at least 30% of the utilised agricultural area of the Member State;
· a minimum 30% reduction compared with 2017 in the use of pesticides in the Member State;
· lastly, compliance with the Nitrates Directive for 100% of surface water and groundwater, without exemptions.
The CoR also calls for a gradual and planned end to cage rearing throughout the European Union. Guillaume Cros stressed that “we (the CoR) support the proposal by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee aimed at establishing farm livestock density limits and limiting payments to farms that exceed such limits”.He also highlighted that the key role played by Europe’s regions in managing and implementing the CAP must be preserved and stepped up. The legislative proposal on the future CAP, in its current form, actually has the effect of marginalising, or even jeopardising, the role and autonomy of Europe’s regions in managing the CAP, simply allotting them the task of implementing measures laid down at national level.

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Why to join for the opening of the new European Parliament?

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 1 luglio 2019

Strasbourg. Tuesday 2nd of July 08:00 – 10:00: Rally in front of the European Parliament: Citizens gathering for the new European Parliament.
The European Union has been “at a critical junction” time and again since its inception. Calls for a renewed commitment to the European project have taken almost a life of their own. Back in 2014, after the Parliament had managed to elect him at the helm of the European Commission by establishing no less than a constitutional precedent, President Juncker declared his would be “the Commission of the last chance”: if it did not deliver, citizens would lose their trust in the EU. After the dismal outcome of the Brexit referendum, EU leaders convened in Bratislava to agree on a supposedly ambitious roadmap “to make a success of the EU with 27 Member States”. Three years on – Leaders’ summit after Leaders’ summit – Brexit still hasn’t happened (thankfully!) and resources, time and energy have been wasted on European Heads of State and Government unable to unite around anything more than generic commitments to the EU.That there would even be a need to reaffirm European unity is proof that the time of national leaders is far gone. We need European solutions urgently, not least to stop more far-right and illiberal forces from rising to power. The alarms bells have been ringing for years now, but these leaders are too comfortable sitting in their own echo chamber to hear them.EU national leaders have failed us. European integration by intergovernmental cooperation has the EU stuck in a status quo that could well be its downfall. But the history of the European Union is not only one of disappointing meetings of European leaders. The history of Europe is also one of citizens gathering, demonstrating and protesting; citizens calling on elected leaders for more decisive steps towards the political unity of the European people.The history of the European Union is one of citizens gathering and calling on elected leaders for more decisive steps towards political unity for the European people: in 1975 in Rome claiming for the direct elections of the European Parliament; in 1979 in Strasbourg asking for a European currency; in 1985 in Milano defending The Spinelli Treaty, in 1991 in Maastricht for European democracy, in 2000 in Nice asking for a European Convention, on 25 March 2017 in Rome calling for a relaunch of political integration.Today, simply celebrating the EU and its achievements is not enough anymore. Our continent is in dire need of common solutions underpinned by genuine European democracy. This July 1-2 in Strasbourg, at the opening plenary session of the European Parliament, we will again call on our elected representatives to choose Europe, wholeheartedly and without reservations. This July, we must take up the challenge of creating a genuine, European democracy – or risk having no democracy at all.

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Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 aprile 2019

Positive incentives for non-EU countries cooperating on readmitting irregular migrants.
The EU will simplify procedures for requesting and issuing short-stay visas and will use its visa policy to encourage non-EU countries to cooperate on migration.
Parliament approved on Wednesday the new EU Visa Code, already informally agreed with the Council of Ministers. The law 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).Procedures for bona fide travellers will be simpler, and there will be a direct link between visa and migration policy.
Visa applications will have to be submitted between six months (instead of the current three months) and 15 days ahead of the intended trip, except for seafarers, who will be allowed to submit applications nine months in advance.Among other changes:
the general visa fee will increase from 60 to 80 euros -with a possible reduction for people under 18 years old-, and children under six, students and researchers will continue to be exempt from paying the visa fee;
the new prerequisite to buy travel health insurance will be assessed by the European Commission 15 months after being introduced, taking into account the actual medical costs incurred by visa-holders;
EU member states will have to work with external service providers to manage visa requests in non-EU countries where they are neither present nor represented; and
frequent travellers might be eligible for multiple entry visas.
Cooperation on readmission by non-EU countries
Some provisions, such as the visa fees, the time taken to issue decisions on applications, and the length of time for which multiple entry visas are valid, may be adapted depending on whether a given non-EU country cooperates “sufficiently”, or alternatively “insufficiently” on readmitting irregular migrants, following a full and objective assessment carried out by the European Commission every year.

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Parliament reiterates its support to Laura Codruţa Kövesi to become EU Chief Prosecutor

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 7 aprile 2019

The Parliament reaffirmed that Laura Codruţa Kövesi remains its top candidate to become the first head of the new EU Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Following to President Tajani’s announcement yesterday in plenary supporting Ms Kövesi’s candidacy and after three rounds of negotiations with the Council, the Parliament’s negotiating team reiterated its continued support to Ms Kövesi, a former Romanian anti-corruption watchdog whose candidacy is opposed by the Romanian government. The team also called on the Council to reconsider its position. European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) Chief Prosecutor has to be selected by joint accord between the Parliament and the EU Council.“After the third negotiation meeting with the Council delegation, we deeply regret the current deadlock situation, which prevents the two institutions from appointing the European Chief Prosecutor”, said Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee. “The European Chief Prosecutor will play a key role in the implementation of the EPPO, an office that will be instrumental in combatting crimes against EU budget”, he concluded.Civil Liberties Committee Vice Chair Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL) said: “The obstruction Ms Kövesi is currently facing from the Romanian authorities highlights her courage and her independence, which both are crucial requirements for the efficient functioning of the EPPO. The harassment of the Romanian government has resulted in completely discrediting the Council’s candidate as well.” “Unlike the Council, the Parliament has held hearings of all three shortlisted candidates. Ms Kövesi is by far the strongest and most promising candidate for the post. We cannot accept the fact that the Council cedes to the pressure of the Romanian government to support a much weaker candidate. Since the EPPO regulation has been watered down during negotiations, it is crucial for the Parliament to select a candidate who would make the institution strong and credible,” Ingeborg Gräßle (EPP, DE), head of the Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee, told after the third round of negotiations on Thursday. “She is a woman, and the Parliament has just recently called on the Council to respect the principle of gender balance. Moreover, Romania currently does not hold a single EU key post,” she added.Following a pre-selection by a board of experts, EU legislators now have to pick from Ms Kövesi and Jean-François Bohnert from France. The parliament’s negotiating team consists of Mr Moraes, Ms Gräßle and Ms Sargentini.

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Parliament’s leading MEPs back Laura Codruţa Kövesi for EU Chief Prosecutor

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 11 marzo 2019

Negotiations with EU Ministers can start on the European Chief Prosecutor following to the leading MEPs’ endorsement of Laura Codruţa Kövesi for the position.
The Conference of Presidents (EP President and the leaders of the political groups) confirmed on Thursday the ranking of the candidates for European Chief Prosecutor as proposed by the Civil Liberties and Budgetary Control Committees with Laura Codruţa Kövesi as their first choice, Jean-François Bohnert second and Andres Ritter third.The European Chief Prosecutor, who will head the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), will be jointly appointed by common accord, by the European Parliament and the Council. Parliament’s negotiation team will consist of the Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) who will lead the team, Budget Control Committee Chair Ingeborg Grässle (EPP, DE) and Civil Liberties Committee Vice Chair Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL). The negotiations are expected to start as soon as possible.

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “Europe must listen to the people”

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 12 febbraio 2019

giuseppe conte.jpgIn a plenary debate on the future of Europe, the Italian Prime Minister said: “This is a valuable opportunity to reverse the process of detachment between rulers and governed, which if fed could lead to the European project imploding”. The prerequisite for relaunching it, are “solidarity and cohesion between the member states”.
Foreign policy
Among the challenges to be tackled to galvanise the European integration process, Conte mentioned the need for a common EU seat in the UN Security Council, strengthening relations with the USA, a strong dialogue with Russia and China and the creation of a true European common defence.
Migration
Conte stressed the need for a stable solution to manage migration flows, including so-called secondary movements, based on real solidarity between member states. He also asked for a new approach to Africa’s problems, through a partnership of equals.
Economy and growth
Overcoming austerity means “balancing growth and stability” and committing to the values of social solidarity and sustainable development, said Conte. He then called for more investment in youth, education and innovation, and for priority to be given to employment and the creation of tools for growth.
More powers to the EP
He concluded by saying that the European Parliament should have more powers, including the right of inquiry and the right to initiate legislation, in order to restore Europe’s credibility in the eyes of its citizens. (photo copyright: European Union 2019 – Source: EP)

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Parliament as a global actor for children’s rights

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 7 febbraio 2019

Children´s rights coordinator Ms Corazza-Bildt will go to the USA to meet key stakeholders, including the UN and UNICEF, to step up children’s rights globally.The main objective of this mission to New York City and Washington DC is to establish official partnerships and structural dialogues between the UN, and particularly UNICEF, and the European Parliament.EP’s coordinator for children’s rights Anna Maria Corazza-Bildt said: “The European Parliament is committed to put children’s rights at the heart of our policies and legislation. It is important to build institutional partnerships with the UN family and develop a structural dialogue to strengthen our cooperation globally. In the European Parliament, we strongly stand for multilateralism to address global challenges. Together, we must put an end to all forms of violence against children, increase child safety online and protect the most vulnerable children – such as migrant children – across Europe and globally. Together, we want to give a voice to children and make sure their voice is heard in all decision that concern them”.From Monday to Thursday, she will meet UN special representatives on violence against children and children in armed conflicts, UN Global Compact programme chief, UN General Assembly president as well as UNICEF deputy executive director, Congressional Children’s Rights Caucus co-chairs and World Bank vice-presidents.The mandate of the coordinator for children´s rights covers both the internal and external dimension of the EU policy and aims also at positioning the European Parliament as a global actor to advance children’s rights globally.

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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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Children must not be detained for immigration purposes, Parliament says

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 5 Mag 2018

Bruxelles. All unaccompanied children should get guardians upon their arrival Enhanced cooperation to find missing children and identify victims of trafficking and abuse.  Full access to education under the same conditions as local children All migrant children and families with children should be housed in non-custodial facilities while their immigration status is processed, MEPs insisted on Thursday. “Children shall not be detained for immigration purposes” and the EU Commission should act against EU member states “in instances of protracted and systematic immigration detention of children and their families”, Parliament stated in a non-legislative resolution passed by show of hands.According to the latest data from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), in September 2016, Bulgaria was the country with the most migrant children in detention, while there were also high numbers of detained children in Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. No children were detained on the days when on-the-spot checks were carried out in Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain or the United Kingdom.
The resolution notes that there are an estimated 5.4 million migrant children living in Europe, making it home to 1 out of 6 of the world’s child migrants (UNICEF data). Almost half of those who arrived in recent years were unaccompanied or separated children. MEPs underline that the lack of reliable information, and lengthy family reunification and guardian appointment procedures, together with the fear of being detained, sent back or transferred, is resulting in children absconding, leaving them exposed to trafficking, violence and exploitation.Parliament urges national authorities to speed up procedures for appointing guardians for unaccompanied children, who should also be hosted in separate facilities from adults in order to avoid any risk of violence and sexual abuse.MEPs call for the relocation of the remaining unaccompanied children from Greece and Italy to be prioritised and ask that all pending family reunification procedures proceed without delay.
The Chamber underlines the importance of establishing a robust identification and registration system to make sure that children enter and stay in national protection systems. It also demands enhanced cooperation among law-enforcement and child-protection authorities to find and protect missing children.MEPs are particularly worried about the exploitation of girls for prostitution and ask member states to step up efforts and cross-border cooperation to identify child victims of trafficking, abuse and all forms of exploitation.Regarding age assessment procedures, the resolution stresses that medical examinations of children should always be carried out “in a manner that is not intrusive and respects children’s dignity”. Parliament also rejects the use of coercion for taking children’s biometric data.

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Our digital future: high-level conference in the European Parliament on 25 April

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 23 aprile 2018

Bruxelles. A high-level conference on “Shaping our digital future: the challenge of the digital revolution” will be held in the European Parliament, in Brussels, on 25 April from 14.30 to 19.00.Lawmakers will discuss with experts, political leaders, representatives from industry, tech giants, including Google and Facebook, and other stakeholders the challenges and opportunities for Europeans in a digital society and how to mobilise investments, foster innovation and ensure an online platform economy that benefits business and consumers.Ahead of the conference, organised in close cooperation with the European Commission, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: “The Digital Single Market creates real opportunities, but it comes with real risks. The EU should lead the way in shaping a level playing field for the benefit of our citizens. Opportunity comes with responsibility and fair rules must be established. The digital world cannot be a lawless jungle, freedom and responsibility must be the law of the land”.
After the opening session, hosted by EP President Antonio Tajani and the European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, the conference will be structured around four themes:
· Investing to unlock digitalisation, boost competitiveness and avoiding a digital divide: How to target and mobilise investments in connectivity and the data economy infrastructure (5G, High-Performance Computing, Artificial Intelligence) to unlock cutting-edge digital innovations across sectors in the EU?
· Innovation, research and the use of data in the digital age: How best to capitalise on the EU’s research and scientific excellence to generate digital innovations and facilitate the digitisation of the European industry? How do we foster innovation based on better access, use and re-use of data?
· Opportunities and risks, including trust, security and privacy, in a digital society: What are the advantages, challenges and opportunities for the users of digital services in the advent of new digital realities? How to best maintain trust online and guarantee security and respect for privacy for European citizens and consumers?
· How to ensure an online platform economy that benefits businesses and consumers, supported by fair taxation: How can businesses maximise the benefits of the Digital Single Market and operate cross-border in a fair business environment? How do we ensure an online platform economy that benefits businesses and consumers, supported by fair taxation?

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MEPs urge Facebook CEO to come to European Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 21 aprile 2018

MEPs renewed the call to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to come before the Parliament at a debate on data protection and citizens’ privacy with the Commission and the Council on Wednesday.
MEPs urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to come to the European Parliament to answer MEPs’ questions on the misuse of European citizens’ personal data. MEPs further expressed concerns about the effects of social media, fake news and election manipulation on democratic processes.
The scandal was seen as a wakeup call to the need to ensure data protection against political and commercial use of personal data. MEPs emphasised that the General Data Protection Regulation that will apply as of 26 May will give citizens control over their personal data and set global standards. However, some MEPs pointed out that the new data protection rules will not prevent future scandals and called on the Council to proceed with the e-privacy regulation.

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Cutting off terrorist financing: Parliament ready to negotiate

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 18 gennaio 2018

european-parliamentEuropean Parliament is ready to start talks with ministers on two laws targeting the financing of terrorism and organised crime.The two laws will clamp down on the funding of terrorism and other organised crime, by countering money laundering as well as easing cross-border freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime. The directive to counter money laundering would improve enforcement by laying down EU-wide definitions of crimes and minimum penalties. MEPs also propose barring those convicted from running for public office or holding a position of public servant. The cross-border confiscation regulation would set tight deadlines for member states to act on cross-border requests to freeze or confiscate assets, leaving criminals with less time to move them. Furthermore, the process would be simplified in order to make cross-border confiscations easier to carry out, as they are under-used under current rules. At the moment, only an estimated 1.1% of criminal proceeds are ever confiscated.
In both cases, harmonising rules throughout the EU will ensure that terrorists and other criminals will no longer be able to take advantage of the variation in national legislation. The two laws aim to more efficiently deprive terrorists and other organised criminals of the money they depend on to carry out their activities. The mandate for MEPs to start talks with the Council and the Commission was deemed approved after no objections were received by the deadline of midnight on Tuesday. The talks can begin immediately, as the Council has already agreed on its general approach on both drafts. Both files – “Countering money laundering by criminal law” and the “Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders” – are part of the Commission’s Action Plan against terrorist financing, proposed in December 2016.

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All EU bodies must follow same data protection rules, Parliament insists

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 14 dicembre 2017

strasburgo-parlamento-europeoStrasbourg. The new data protection rules for EU institutions, bodies and agencies must cover all EU bodies to ensure strong and coherent data protection safeguards and avoid loopholes,
Parliament’s chief negotiator regrets that it has not yet been possible to reach a compromise with Council negotiators in the inter-institutional talks.
Parliament’s lead MEP on the new data protection rules for data processed by the EU institutions, Cornelia Ernst (GUE/ NGL, DE) said after the latest meeting with Council negotiators on Tuesday in Strasbourg: “Our goal with this regulation is to create a single, unified framework for the protection of personal data by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. In order to achieve the best level of data protection for citizens, our rules have to function well together with those of the General Data Protection Regulation, which will be applied from 25 May 2018 by all governments and businesses in the EU.
– The same is true for EU agencies that are tasked with law enforcement. When from May 2018 the new EU rules will take effect, it is necessary that the rules for agencies like Europol and Eurojust will be harmonised and fit to work together with the rules that police all over the EU will use. That is why the Parliament insists that these agencies must be covered by this regulation. Excluding them, as the Council wants, will undermine the protection of personal data, because the rules will not match, and loopholes might occur. Excluding them will also hamper data exchanges between member states’ police authorities and Europol, or between Frontex and Europol.
– I regret that the Council is unwilling to even discuss Parliament’s position. All our proposals to find an agreement have been turned down citing time pressure and technical details. In law making, it is usually better to favour quality over speed.
– Parliament has done its utmost to come up with solutions, but we have never received any constructive proposals from the Council. It is our sincere hope that it will be feasible to reach a swift and viable compromise with the incoming Presidency in order to allow the new rules to come into force as quickly as possible”.
The Civil Liberties Committee passed its negotiation mandate on 12 October with a broad majority in favour.The main rules on data protection in the EU institutions are laid down in a regulation from 2001. The new law aims to update these existing rules and bring them into line with the more stringent principles of the General Data Protection Regulation which will become applicable on 25 May 2018.

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Parliament confirms negotiation mandate on e-Privacy rules

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 27 ottobre 2017

european parliamentBruxelles. A majority of MEPs confirmed the committee decision to enter into negotiations on the revision of EU privacy rules for electronic communications.The decision was backed by 318 votes to 280, with 20 abstentions. This means that Parliament is ready to start the talks with member states on the new e-Privacy regulation as soon as member states have agreed on their own negotiation position.Parliament’s mandate sets high standards of privacy, confidentiality and security in electronic communications across the EU. A ban on “cookie walls”, which block access to a website if the person does not agree to his or her data being used by the site, is among Parliament’s priorities. Snooping on personal devices via cookies or software updates, or tracking people without their clear approval through public hotspots or WI-FI in shopping centres, should also be prohibited, say MEPs.They also stress that data should only be used for the purpose of which consent has been given by the individual. So-called “meta-data”, which can give information about numbers called, websites visited, geographical location or the time and date a call was made and other sensitive data, should be treated as confidential and never passed on to third parties. Finally, “privacy by default” settings should become standard for all software used for electronic communications.

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Big Data: Parliament calls for better protection of fundamental rights and privacy

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 16 marzo 2017

european parliamentStrengthened transparency of algorithms, special attention to data used for law enforcement and more investment in digital literacy needed to safeguard fundamental rights in the digital era, MEPs say in a non-legislative resolution passed on Tuesday.
The non-legislative resolution drafted by Ana Gomes (S&D, PT) on the fundamental rights implications on Big data looks at how the increasing use of Big data impacts on fundamental rights, namely privacy and data protection.Big data is growing by 40% per year and has the potential to bring undeniable benefits and opportunities for citizens, businesses and governments, but also entails significant risks with regard to the protection of fundamental rights as guaranteed by the EU Charter and Union law. The resolution stresses the need to avoid discrimination based on the use of such data, including in law enforcement, as well as the need to ensure security of data.
MEPs want the Commission, the member states and the data protection authorities to take “any possible measures” to minimise algorithmic discrimination, including price discrimination, where consumers are given different prices of a product based on data collected from their previous internet behaviour, or unlawful discrimination and targeting of certain groups or persons defined by their race, colour, ethic or social origin, religion or political view or being refused from social benefits.”It is not just a question of data protection. These algorithms do have a real impact on peoples’ private lives because they can actually provoke what is happening and they can actually call into question and put at risk our fundamental rights through social media”, said Parliament’s rapporteur Ana Gomes in the debate ahead of the plenary vote.MEPs also emphasise the need for greater accountability and transparency of algorithms with regards to data processing and analytics by both private and public sector and warn that low quality of data or low quality procedures could result in biased algorithms.
The increase in data flows imply further vulnerabilities and new security challenges, MEPs say. They call for the use of privacy by design and by default, anonymisation techniques, encryption, and mandatory privacy impact assessments. They also stress that special attention should be given to the security of e-government systems.Special attention should also be paid to data used in for law enforcement purposes which should always be assessed by a human being, MEPs say. They call on the Commission, the European Data Protection Board and other independent supervisory authorities to issue guidelines and best practises for further specifying the criteria and conditions for decisions based on the use of big data for law enforcement purposes.MEPs urge the EU institutions and member states to invest in digital awareness raising of digital rights, privacy and data protection among citizens, including children. This education should foster an understanding of how algorithms and automated decision-making work and how data is collected for example from social networks, connected devices and internet searches.

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Denmark-Europol: Parliament passes first step towards the establishment of a cooperation agreement

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 16 febbraio 2017

europolDenmark should be added to the list of countries with which Europol can conclude operational cooperation agreements, the European Parliament recommended on Tuesday. However, MEPs also call on Council to set a sunset clause on a future agreement.Parliament passed the draft report by Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra (EPP, ES) by 632 votes to 10, with 51 abstentions.”It is vital to keep Denmark in Europol for the security of all Europeans, nor will the Danish people be completely secure without Europol”, said Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra. Adding Denmark to the list of countries with which Europol can conclude cooperation agreements (Decision 2009/935/JHA) constitutes a first step towards setting up an operational cooperation agreement between Denmark and Europol so as to minimise the negative impact of Denmark’s departure from Europol on 1 May 2017, following the Danish referendum on 3 December 2015.However, MEPs also call on the Council to provide “for an expiry date of five years after the date of entry into force” of the agreement.
Including a sunset clause in the agreement should “ensure its transitional nature with a view to full membership or the conclusion of an international agreement in accordance with Article 2018 TFEU” MEPs add.
When Denmark has been added to the list of countries with which Europol can conclude cooperation agreements, Council will need to consult Parliament on establishing the concrete cooperation agreement between Europol and Denmark. Parliament has no formal say on adding Denmark to the list and establishing a cooperation agreement, but it needs to be consulted on both issues before an agreement can be concluded.

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Georgia visa waiver approved by Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 4 febbraio 2017

Georgian citizens will be able to enter the Schengen area without a visa for short stays, under a new law passed by Parliament on ThurSchengensday. The legislation still needs to be formally approved by the Council and will only enter into force once the suspension mechanism, which allows the temporary reintroduction of visas in the event of migration surges or risks to public security, is in place.
Parliament´s rapporteur for the proposal, Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG), acknowledged the “broad and complex reforms” carried out by Georgia in order to get the visa waiver and thanked the country’s authorities and citizens for their consistency and patience. She also congratulated them on the strength of their democratic conviction and noted that the visa exemption brings the country closer to the EU.
Under the visa exemption, endorsed in plenary by 553 votes to 66, with 28 abstentions, Georgians who hold a biometric passport will have the right to enter the EU visa-free for 90 days in any 180-day period, for business, tourist or family purposes, but not to work.
Tbilisi has complied with all the benchmarks of its visa liberalisation plan, the text notes, underlining that “continuous fulfilment by Georgia of such criteria, especially on the fight against organised crime, will be duly monitored by the Commission.”
The visa waivers apply to the Schengen area, which includes 22 EU member states (all except Ireland, the UK, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The legal change transferring Georgia from the list of countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the EU (the “negative” list) to the list of countries exempted from this requirement (the “positive” list) will have now to be approved by the Council of Ministers. Following its formal signature, the text will be published in the EU Official Journal.

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New Asylum Agency must ensure EU countries respect common asylum rules, say MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 10 dicembre 2016

european parliamentThe EU Agency for Asylum must coordinate information exchange among member states and ensure they protect fundamental rights, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Thursday. The committee backed a proposal to strengthen the current European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which will become the EU Agency for Asylum, and provide it with the means to assist member states in crisis situations, but also to monitor how national authorities apply EU legislation. The new Agency will assess all aspects of the common asylum policy, such as reception conditions, respect for procedural safeguards, the right to legal aid and access to interpretation, and adequacy of financial and human resources. To do so, it will be entitled to make unannounced on-site visits to EU countries.
It would rely on an “asylum intervention pool”, formed by no less than 500 experts contributed by member states, who could be deployed in cases where the asylum and reception systems of an EU country are subject to “disproportionate pressure”.
Fundamental Rights Officer. The Agency will also have a Fundamental Rights Officer, in charge of managing the newly-created complaint mechanism and monitoring and ensuring respect for fundamental rights in all the Agency’s activities.
The resolution, prepared by Peter Niedermüller (EPP, HU) was passed by 36 votes to nine, with six abstentions.
Next steps The committee also approved a negotiating mandate and team, by 46 votes to four, with a view to reaching a first-reading deal with the Council on the legislation.

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Visa suspension mechanism: Parliament and Council negotiators strike a deal

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 9 dicembre 2016

The EU Commission and member states will be able to reimpose visa requirements faster and more easily under new rules agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Wednesday. Parliament´s rapporteur for the preuropean commissionoposal, Agustín Díaz de Mera (EPP, ES), noted that “the changes agreed provide flexibility for the rapid activation of the suspension mechanism”. He also underlined that the deal “will facilitate the immediate consideration of the two visa liberalization proposals for Georgia and Ukraine.”
According to the deal, visa requirements may be reintroduced for a non-EU country in one or more of the following cases:
· a substantial increase in the number of nationals of that country refused entry or irregularly staying in the EU territory,
· a substantial increase in unfounded asylum applications, or
· a lack of cooperation on readmissions (returns of migrants).
Visas could also be reintroduced in the event of threats to public policy or internal security related to nationals of the third country concerned.The informal deal will be put to a vote in the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday around noon. If approved, it will still need to be endorsed by Parliament as a whole, probably next week, and national governments.
The review of the visa suspension mechanism, which has existed since 2013, is linked to the proposals to grant visa-free access to the EU to Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo, currently under discussion.
Under the draft law, both member states and the European Commission will be able to trigger the suspension mechanism. The Commission will be in charge of monitoring the situation in visa-exempt countries and reporting to Parliament and the Council on whether they still fulfill visa waiver conditions such as respect for human rights.
Following a notification by a member state (or a request by a simple majority of member states), or based on its own report, the Commission will have one month in which to decide to suspend the visa waiver for nine months. This decision will take effect automatically.During the suspension period, the Commission should try, together with the country concerned, to find solutions to the circumstances that led to the suspension.If the situation persists, the Commission will have to present, at the latest two months before the end of the nine-month period, a proposal to prolong the temporary restoration of visa requirements for an additional period of 18 months. Both MEPs and member states can object to this decision.The Commission may also decide at any point to present a legislative proposal to move a non-EU country from the list of countries exempted of visa requirements to the list of those that are subject to them.
Targeting categories of third country nationalsThe suspension of the visa waiver may target certain categories of nationals of the third country concerned. The draft text stresses, however, that categories will have to be sufficiently large to address the specific problems detected while being proportionate to the threat. The visa suspension mechanism will not apply to the UK or Ireland.

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Parliament backs visa waiver agreements with five Pacific states

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 3 dicembre 2016

europa-261011-cThe European Parliament backed on Thursday short-stay visa waiver agreements between the EU and the states of Kiribati, Micronesia, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Marshall Islands. EU citizens will be able to travel visa-free to the five Pacific countries, and their citizens to the EU, for stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period.The visa waiver covers all categories of persons (ordinary, diplomatic, service/official and special passport holders) travelling for all kinds of purposes, except for carrying out a paid activity.
According to Parliament´s rapporteur for the agreements, Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG), the visa deals represent a culmination of the deepening of relations with those countries and show the EU´s commitment to the region. The EU is currently negotiating Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with fourteen Pacific countries, including these five.

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