Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 259

Posts Tagged ‘rules’

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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New EU-wide rules against non-cash payment fraud

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 17 marzo 2019

New EU rules to protect EU citizens against non-cash payment fraud, such as credit card theft, skimming or phishing, were approved by European Parliament.
MEPs adopted on Wednesday with 587 votes to 26 and 8 abstentions, new rules on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment such as cards, electronic wallets, mobile payments and virtual currencies. The changes aim to close the current gaps and differences among EU countries’ laws to enhance prevention, detection and punishment of non-cash payment fraud.The new rules will:establish the minimum penalty in cases where a judge imposes the national “maximum” custodial sentence for non-cash payment fraud,
include virtual-currency transactions in the scope of offences,
improve EU-wide cooperation and facilitate information exchange to ensure cross-border frauds are better dealt with,
strengthen assistance to non-cash fraud victims, such as psychological support, advice on financial, practical and legal matters, and
improve prevention and awareness-raising, e.g. through campaigning, education and on-line information tools with practical examples of fraud cases; special attention should be paid to the needs and interests of vulnerable people.
Non-cash payments are constantly increasing in the digital era. This has made non-cash payment fraud, such as credit card theft or fraud using newer technologies such as skimming or phishing, an important source of income for organised crime.
The new rules have already been agreed upon by the Parliament and Council negotiators in December. After the formal approval of the Council, member states will have two years to adopt national legislation to implement the directive.

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Deal on new rules against non-cash payment fraud approved by Civil Liberties MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 11 gennaio 2019

New EU rules to protect EU citizens against non-cash payment fraud, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in December, were confirmed by Civil Liberties MEPs.Non-cash payments, representing an increasing share of payments, are subject to various forms of fraud including credit card theft, skimming or phishing. The agreed changes aim to close the current gaps and differences among EU countries’ laws to enhance prevention, detection and punishment of these crimes.The new rules take into account traditional non-cash payments such as bank cards or cheques but also new means of non-cash payment, such as electronic wallets, mobile payments and virtual currencies.Read more about the informal agreement reached on 11 December 2018 here.Civil Liberties MEPs backed the deal in a vote by 45 in favour, 1 against, no 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. The Full House is likely to vote on the agreed text in February.

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EU’s judicial cooperation arm, Eurojust, to become more effective with new rules

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 8 ottobre 2018

MEPs adopted on Thursday updated rules to clarify the role of Eurojust and improve its effectiveness. Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation unit, facilitates cross-border investigations and prosecutions of serious crimes in the EU. The changes in the Agency’s functioning and structure, including a new governance model, will make Eurojust more efficient in tackling cross-border crime. The updated rules also take into account the establishment of the European public prosecutor’s office (EPPO), expected to be operational between 2020 and 2021, as well as the new rules on data protection for EU institutions and agencies. Furthermore, with the revision of the rules, the European Parliament and national parliaments will in future be more involved in evaluating Eurojust’s activities.European Parliament rapporteur Axel Voss (EPP, DE) said: “With this reform, we are adapting the legal framework of this crucial agency to the new challenges in our common fight against crime and terrorism. By doing this, we are making sure that Eurojust can continue its excellent work of supporting national authorities, facilitating cross-border investigations and coordinating prosecutions.” The new rules were approved by 515 votes to 64, with 26 abstentions. They have already been agreed upon by the Parliament and Council negotiators in June, but still require the formal approval of the Council.

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Stronger rules on data protection by EU institutions agreed with Council

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 26 maggio 2018

New rules to strengthen data protection in EU institutions, bodies and agencies were informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Wednesday.The aim of the update of the existing rules from 2001 is to bring them in to line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as the proposed e-privacy rules to uphold citizens’ right to personal data protection.
The new rules will cover EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies to ensure a strong and coherent framework for data processing. Contrary to the past, the rules will also apply to Eurojust as soon as the reform of the agency will be agreed by the Parliament and the Council. Furthermore, in 2022 the rules should be extended to Europol and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office following to a review by the Commission.Parliament and Council negotiators agreed to strengthen the role of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), the independent supervisory authority that ensures the application of the rules across all the EU institutions and bodies. The European Data Protection Supervisor will also be able to fine EU institutions or bodies that do not live up to the data protection rules.

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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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America’s global influence has dwindled under Donald Trump

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 13 novembre 2017

cover economistA YEAR ago this week Donald Trump was elected president. Many people predicted that American foreign policy would take a disastrous turn. Mr Trump had suggested that he would scrap trade deals, ditch allies, put a figurative bomb under the rules-based global order and drop literal ones willy-nilly. NATO was “obsolete”, he said; NAFTA was “the worst trade deal maybe ever”; and America was far too nice to foreigners. “In the old days when you won a war, you won a war. You kept the country,” he opined, adding later that he would “bomb the shit out of” Islamic State (IS) and “take the oil”.So far, Mr Trump’s foreign policy has been less awful than he promised. Granted, he has pulled America out of the Paris accord, making it harder to curb climate change, and abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a big trade deal. However, he has not retreated pell-mell into isolationism. He has not quit NATO; indeed, some of America’s eastern European allies prefer his tough-talk to the cool detachment of Barack Obama. He has not started any wars. He has stepped up America’s defence of Afghanistan’s beleaguered government, and helped Iraq recapture cities from IS. In the parts of the world to which he pays little attention, such as Africa, an understaffed version of the previous administration’s policy continues on autopilot. As Mr Trump makes a 12-day visit to Asia, it is hard to dismiss him as a man wholly disengaged from the world.
Many people find reassurance in the sober, capable military men who surround him (see article). His chief of staff, his defence secretary and his national security adviser all understand the horrors of war and will stop him from doing anything rash, the argument goes. Optimists even speculate that he might emulate Ronald Reagan, by shaking up the diplomatic establishment, restoring America’s military muscle and projecting such strength abroad that a frightened, overstretched North Korea will crumble like the Soviet Union. Others confidently predict that even if he causes short-term damage to America’s standing in the world, Mr Trump will be voted out in 2020 and things will return to normal.
All this is wishful thinking. On security, Mr Trump has avoided some terrible mistakes. He has not started a needless row with China over Taiwan’s ambiguous status, as he once threatened to do. Congress and the election-hacking scandal prevented him from pursuing a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin that might have left Russia’s neighbours at the Kremlin’s mercy. And he has apparently coaxed China to exert a little more pressure on North Korea to stop expanding its nuclear arsenal.However, he has made some serious errors, too, such as undermining the deal with Iran that curbs its ability to make nuclear bombs. And his instincts are atrocious. He imagines he has nothing to learn from history. He warms to strongmen, such as Mr Putin and Xi Jinping. His love of generals is matched by a disdain for diplomats—he has gutted the State Department, losing busloads of experienced ambassadors. His tweeting is no joke: he undermines and contradicts his officials without warning, and makes reckless threats against Kim Jong Un, whose paranoia needs no stoking. Furthermore, Mr Trump has yet to be tested by a crisis. Level-headed generals may advise him, but he is the commander-in-chief, with a temperament that alarms friend and foe alike.
On trade, he remains wedded to a zero-sum view of the world, in which exporters “win” and importers “lose”. (Are the buyers of Ivanka Trump-branded clothes and handbags, which are made in Asia, losers?) Mr Trump has made clear that he favours bilateral deals over multilateral ones, because that way a big country like America can bully small ones into making concessions. The trouble with this approach is twofold. First, it is deeply unappealing to small countries, which by the way also have protectionist lobbies to overcome. Second, it would reproduce the insanely complicated mishmash of rules that the multilateral trade system was created to simplify and trim. The Trump team probably will not make a big push to disrupt global trade until tax reform has passed through Congress. But when and if that happens, all bets are off—NAFTA is still in grave peril.Perhaps the greatest damage that Mr Trump has done is to American soft power. He openly scorns the notion that America should stand up for universal values such as democracy and human rights. Not only does he admire dictators; he explicitly praises thuggishness, such as the mass murder of criminal suspects in the Philippines. He does so not out of diplomatic tact, but apparently out of conviction. This is new. Previous American presidents supported despots for reasons of cold-war realpolitik. (“He’s a bastard, but he’s our bastard,” as Harry Truman is reputed to have said of an anti-communist tyrant in Nicaragua.) Mr Trump’s attitude seems more like: “He’s a bastard. Great!”
This repels America’s liberal allies, in Europe, East Asia and beyond. It emboldens autocrats to behave worse, as in Saudi Arabia this week, where the crown prince’s dramatic political purges met with Mr Trump’s blessing (see article). It makes it easier for China to declare American-style democracy passé, and more tempting for other countries to copy China’s autocratic model (see article).
The idea that things will return to normal after a single Trump term is too sanguine. The world is moving on. Asians are building new trade ties, often centred on China. Europeans are working out how to defend themselves if they cannot rely on Uncle Sam. And American politics are turning inward: both Republicans and Democrats are more protectionist now than they were before Mr Trump’s electoral triumph.
For all its flaws, America has long been the greatest force for good in the world, upholding the liberal order and offering an example of how democracy works. All that is imperilled by a president who believes that strong nations look out only for themselves. By putting “America First”, he makes it weaker, and the world worse off. (by The Economist) (foto: cover economist)

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New Asylum Agency to ensure respect of EU asylum rules and fundamental rights

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 2 luglio 2017

european parliamentThe new EU Asylum Agency will ensure that EU countries respect rules on asylum, following a deal with Council. It will also monitor respect of fundamental rights.The informal, preliminary agreement reached on Wednesday covers all the main elements of the legislation, but inter-institutional talks will continue under the Estonian Presidency to finalise the text.The proposal to strengthen the current EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), turning it into a new EU Agency for Asylum equipped with the means and resources to assist Member States in crisis situations and to monitor compliance with EU legislation, is linked to the wider review of the Common European Asylum System currently under way.
MEPs ensured that the Agency will be in charge of regularly assessing 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 whether financial and human resources are sufficient or not. It will also carry out “ad-hoc” monitoring checks when the situation in a specific country raises concerns.A new “asylum intervention pool”, formed by 500 national experts, will be set up and at the immediate disposal of the Agency. They will be deployed in cases where the asylum and reception systems of an EU country are under “disproportionate pressure”.
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 Executive Director will be able to suspend or terminate the deployment of asylum support teams if a host Member State is found to be in serious breach of fundamental rights.Péter Niedermüller (S&D, HU), Parliament’s rapporteur for the proposal, said: “Our aim was to turn EASO into a fully-fledged Union Agency working with the Member States, but independent from them. The Agency will act as a watchdog of CEAS, an essential element for the EP. Increasing the Agency’s operational and technical capacities to make it more responsive to the current challenges, and ensuring respect for fundamental rights was also crucial”.

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MEPs demand new rules to improve fight against organised crime and corruption

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 26 ottobre 2016

europa-261011-cThe Commission should review its legislation against corruption and organised crime to better equip Member States in their fight against criminal organisations operating in the EU, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution passed on Tuesday. MEPs call for initiatives such as EU-wide rules to seize assets from criminal organisations to re-use for social purposes and protection of whistle-blowers.In the resolution, MEPs demand the adoption of a European Action Plan to eradicate organised crime, fraud and corruption as outlined in its resolution of 2013. They stress that this must be a political priority for the EU and that police and judicial cooperation between Member States is therefore crucial.“Europe needs to understand the complex issue of organised crime and the danger arising from the infiltration of criminal associations into the social, economic, and political fabric of the Member States,” said rapporteur Laura Ferrara (IT, EFDD).“The criminal codes of Member States need to be fit for the challenge. This is why I call for urgent and incisive regulatory action at European level to provide law enforcement authorities with the necessary tools to properly fight organised crime groups across Europe. The EU Commission is also asked to draw up “blacklists of any undertakings which have proven links with organised crime or engaged in corrupt practices” and to “bar them from entering into an economic relationship with a public authority and benefitting from EU funds”. Further, a specialist Europol unit should be created to combat organised criminal groups “which operate in several sectors at the same time,” the resolution reads. MEPs also ask for common rules for protecting whistle-blowers before the end of 2017. The Commission should establish mandatory rules to ban people who have been convicted or participated in organised crime or other serious offences from standing for election or to work in or for the public administration – including EU institutions. MEPs believe that employing a common method for seizing criminal organisations’ assets in the EU would be a deterrent to criminals. They call on the Commission to strengthen EU measures on “promoting the management of frozen and confiscated property and its re-use for social purposes” and as compensation for businesses and families of victims.

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Abide by the rules and start pressing US for full visa reciprocity, MEPs ask the Commission

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 13 ottobre 2016

europa-261011-cThe European Commission should abide by the rules and adopt legal measures temporarily suspending the visa waivers for the US and Canada as a way to put pressure on both countries so they stop requesting the citizens of some EU countries visa to enter their territory. In a debate on Wednesday, Civil Liberties MEPs urged the Commission to act and made clear that it does not have “more room for manoeuvre”.
MEPs refused to discuss the possible consequences of reimposing visa requirements to the US and Canada and agreed that the procedure to follow when a third country does not offer the EU visa reciprocity is clear. Some speakers suggested that the Parliament may bring the Commission to court given its failure to respect legislation.Commissioner Avramopoulos underlined that adopting a delegated act, as established in the legislation, suspending the visa exemption for US and Canadian citizens due to the lack of full visa reciprocity would be “highly counterproductive” and insisted that the best approach is “patient diplomacy”. He explained that this strategy is likely to bear fruit soon in the case of Canada, but admitted the lack of progress with the US.According to the Commissioner, the US could retaliate suspending the visa waiver for all EU citizens. “We will exhaust all negotation means”, Avramopoulos said, adding that it is key to choose the right timing. He also noted that it is not in the interest of any European institution to bring this matter to the European Court of Justice. The Committee´s Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) announced the question will be discussed in a coming plenary session.

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MEPs approve new EU rules extending right to legal aid

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 5 ottobre 2016

The European Parliament approved on Tuesday new EU rules extending the right to legal aid for citizens suspected or accused of a crime, or named in a European Arrest Warrant. During the negotiations weuropean parliamentith the Council, MEPs ensured that both the right to provisional and ordinary legal aid will be covered, so that persons who cannot afford a lawyer get part or all the costs of their defence and court proceedings paid by the state.The text was adopted by 569 votes to 54, with 54 abstentions.”Although the area of freedom, security and justice is built on the principle of mutual trust of Member States in their respective criminal law systems, differences in the procedural rights of defendants persist. The EU already adopted a directive on access to a lawyer, thus providing a minimum of protection for defendants, but this directive does not deal with the situation in which defendants simply cannot afford paying for a lawyer themselves”, noted Parliament´s rapporteur Dennis de Jong (GUE, NL).“Thus, the directive laying down the minimum requirements for legal aid is essential to provide access to a lawyer for all, irrespective of their income level. By adopting this directive, the Parliament and the Council have therefore taken an important step towards the eradication of class justice within the EU”, he added.Legal aid should be provided at all stages of the criminal process, as Parliament defended. The original Commission´s proposal only envisaged the right to “provisional” legal aid for suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings who are “deprived of liberty”, only until there is a final decision on their eligibility for legal aid. “Ordinary” legal aid refers to all defence costs, including the cost of a lawyer and court fees, during the whole criminal justice process.The legislation foresees a “means test” to assess whether a person has the economic resources to pay for legal aid. It also includes a “merits test”, designed to determine whether offering legal aid would be in the interest of justice. The latter should assess, for example, the complexity of the case or the seriousness of the offense.Persons named in European Arrest Warrants will also be covered, in both the executing and the issuing member state.The UK and Ireland decided not to take part in this legislation, while Denmark has an “opt out” by default for matters of Justice and Home Affairs.Once the legal text is formally adopted by the Council and following its publication in the Official Journal, member states will have 30 months to transpose it to their national legislation.

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New EU Rules For Medical Devices Confirm ESC Position

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 27 maggio 2016

sofia antipolisSophia Antipolis. On 25 May 2016, EU policymakers agreed to new rules on medical devices and invitro diagnostic medical devices.
This political agreement is still subject to the approval of the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee and the Parliament’s ENVI Committee.Prof. Fausto Pinto, President of the European Society of Cardiology said: “The ESC welcomes this agreement and looks forward to engaging with regulatory authorities and HTA bodies in promoting excellence in patient management.”Prof. Alan Fraser, Chairman of the ESC Medical Devices Committee said: “The new rules will, for the first time, guarantee transparency for the regulatory process in Europe, where clinical information submitted by manufacturers will be made available to clinicians and patients alike.
This legislation, once passed, will herald a new era for active engagement by scientific, engineering, and clinical experts in writing specific standards for the clinical evaluation of medical devices, and in contributing to improved monitoring of their performance.”

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New rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 13 maggio 2016

UCBM - Studenti uscita da Paolo di RicercaHarmonised EU entry and residence rules to make it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs.The new rules merge two existing directives (one on students and one on researchers) to ensure that:students and researchers may stay at least nine months after finishing their studies or research in order to look for a job or to set up a business, which should also ensure that Europe benefits from their skills,
students and researchers may move more easily within the EU during their stay. In future, they will not need to file a new visa application, but only to notify the member state to which they are moving, for example to do a one-semester exchange. Researchers will also be able to move for longer periods than those currently allowed,
researchers have the right to bring their family members with them and these family members are entitled to work during their stay in Europe, andstudents have the right to work at least 15 hours a week.”I am glad that the EU recognizes the value of attracting highly skilled people to come here and to entice them to stay by creating a harmonized European system applicable in all member states, said lead MEP Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).”This undoubtedly means that European universities will be able to strengthen their competitiveness on the global arena and become more attractive than ever to ambitious and highly-educated people from other countries, thanks to considerably improved conditions in the EU”, she added.The new directive also provides for uniform entry conditions and better protection for interns and volunteers under the European Volunteer Scheme during their stay. Optional provisions are foreseen for other volunteers, school pupils and third-country au pairs, who will be covered for the first time by an EU law.
The directive enters into force the day after its publication in the European Official Journal. Member states will then have two years in which to transpose its provisions into their national laws.

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New rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 10 maggio 2016

scuola-digitale-casnati-como-800x500_cHarmonised EU entry and residence rules that will make it easier and more attractive for students and researchers from third countries to study or do research at EU universities are up for a final vote in Strasbourg on Wednesday. The new rules also have provisions to clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs, so as to facilitate cultural exchanges.
An informal agreement on the new rules was reached with Council in November last year.

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Europol: MEPs endorse new powers to step up EU police counter-terrorism drive

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 30 aprile 2016

europolThe EU police agency Europol will soon be able to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other criminal offences and respond faster, thanks to new governance rules endorsed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Thursday. The new powers come with strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight.
The draft rules, agreed by Parliament and Council in November last year and approved by 40 votes to 3, with 2 abstentions by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday, will enhance Europol’s mandate to ensure that it is fully equipped to counter the rise in cross-border crimes and terrorist threats, in particular by making it easier for Europol to set up specialised units to respond immediately to emerging threats.
Read more about the new rules on Europol in the press release on the agreement reached with Council.
The Civil Liberties Committee vote paves the way for the final approval of the new rules by Parliament as a whole in Strasbourg early in May. The new rules will take effect on 1 April 2017.

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Fair trials: civil liberties MEPs back new EU rules on presumption of innocence

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 12 novembre 2015

european parliamentThe civil liberties committee on Tuesday approved a deal struck by Parliament and Council negotiators on new EU rules to ensure that the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in criminal proceedings is respected throughout the EU. The aim is to enhance the right to a fair trial and to strengthen member states’ trust in each other’s criminal justice systems. The new law will apply “at all stages from the moment when a person is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, or an alleged criminal offence, until the final determination of the question whether the person has committed the offence concerned and that decision has become definitive”. Around nine million people are the subject of criminal justice proceedings every year in the EU.”Parliament fought successfully to get rid of the clause that gave member states a real possibility of reversing the burden of proof. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution. This is a key principle of criminal law and it was our red line. We also secured a paragraph preventing the use of evidence obtained in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), i.e. as a result of torture, as well as a clause enshrining the absolute right to silence. Furthermore, we have ensured that the accused cannot be made to look guilty, before a verdict is reached, for example by being handcuffed or made to wear prison uniform,” said the rapporteur, Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE, FR). Member states will be required under the directive to take measures to ensure that public authorities do not refer to suspects or accused persons as being guilty “before such persons have been proven guilty according to law”. This is without prejudice to acts of the prosecution which aim to prove the guilt of the suspect or accused person (e.g. the indictment), or to preliminary decisions of a procedural nature, such as decisions on pre-trial detention, provided that they do not refer to the suspect or accused person as being guilty.National authorities must also abstain from presenting suspects or accused persons as being guilty, in court or in public, “through the use of measures of physical restraint”, such as handcuffs, glass boxes, cages, and leg irons, unless the use of such measures is required for case-specific reasons, relating to security or to the need to prevent them from absconding or from having contact with third persons, such as witnesses or victims.
The burden of proof in establishing the guilt of suspects or accused persons is on the prosecution and any doubt should benefit the accused, under the rules agreed by Parliament and Council. The directive also includes safeguards to ensure that the rights of the defence are respected.The new rules state that the exercise of the right to remain silent and of the right not to incriminate oneself may not be used against a suspect or accused person and “shall not be considered as evidence that the person concerned has committed the offence which he or she is suspected or accused of having committed”.The new directive also lays down rules on the right to be present at one’s trial, sets out strict conditions under which trials would be allowed in the absence of the suspect or accused person, and clarifies the cases in which the accused would have the right to a new trial.
The agreement on the new directive still needs to be approved by the full House at a forthcoming plenary session. Once the directive has been formally approved by both Parliament and the Council, member states will have two years from the date of its publication in the EU Official Journal to transpose it into national law.

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Changes in EU visa rules should include stronger provisions on humanitarian visas

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 15 settembre 2015

bruxelles (1)The current review of the EU Visa Code is an occasion to include strengthened provisions on humanitarian visas, says Civil Liberties Committee rapporteur, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), ahead of the presentation of his draft report on the EU rulebook on visas on Monday, 14 September, from 16.15 to 17.30. The issuing of a visa to a person seeking international protection constitutes a means of allowing him/her to access the territory of the EU member states in a safe and legal manner.”Amidst the human tragedies Europe is facing at its borders and the unacceptable death toll in the Mediterranean, we as lawmakers bear the responsibility to provide for a safe access to our territory for people in need of international protection”, says the Civil Liberties Committee rapporteur on the review of the EU Visa Code, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES).”Amongst other solutions, the issuing of a visa is one way to do so. I have therefore included in my draft report strengthened provisions on humanitarian visas and I strongly welcome that the Parliament in its resolution of 10 September 2015 on migration and refugees in Europe already considered that it is necessary to amend the Visa Code by including more specific common provisions on humanitarian visas. I now call on the Commission and the Council to support these ideas as well. It is now simply time to act”, he adds.The European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers legislate on the Visa Code on an equal footing, under the co-decision procedure.The presentation of the draft report and the debate in Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee will be webstreaming on EP Live.

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MEPs approve first emergency rules for distributing asylum seekers in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 11 settembre 2015

european parliamentParliament backed temporary emergency rules to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states over two years in a vote on Wednesday. In the migration debate, most MEPs welcomed the Commission’s new proposals outlined by Juncker in his state of the Union speech, stressing that more contributions to solidarity will be needed.”We have a humanitarian crisis and we need to act on it now. Relocating 40,000 refugees is just the start. Let this measure be the start of a rights-based, a fair and a common asylum policy, in solidarity with all member states and in solidarity with the refugees,” said Parliament’s rapporteur, Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE), in the debate on Tuesday.Ms Keller also stressed the need for a “permanent distribution key in case there is an emergency. We must be able to decide and move forward if we have that emergency, and we should not be blocked by several member states.” The future proposal for a permanent scheme should provide for a mandatory and automatically triggered relocation system.The legislative resolution on the emergency relocation of the initial 40.000 asylum seekers was approved by 498 votes to 158, with 37 abstentions.
To relieve the significant asylum pressure from Italy and Greece, “but also to act as an important test case with a view to the upcoming legislative proposal on a permanent emergency relocation scheme”, Parliament agrees that “an initial total of 40,000 applicants shall be relocated from Italy and Greece” over two years (24,000 from Italy and 16,000 from Greece). To adapt to rapidly changing refugee flows and trends, “a further increase shall be considered” in the course of the application of these emergency measures (i.e. during the two-year period), MEPs add.A separate proposal for a permanent emergency relocation scheme must also be based “on a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states, including a significant increase in the number of available relocation places”, MEPs stress. It should be built on clearly defined criteria, allowing it to be triggered “on the basis of transparent and objective indicators”.
The EP proposes that asylum seekers should be given the possibility, before they are relocated from Italy and Greece, to rank member states by order of preference, according to criteria such as family ties, social ties and cultural ties, for example language skills, previous stays, studies and work experience.”While applicants do not have a right to choose the member state of their relocation, their needs, preferences and specific qualifications should be taken into account to the extent possible,” says Parliament, since this could facilitate their integration into a particular EU country. Parliament also stresses that special attention should be given to unaccompanied minors.
Parliament has stated its position today, under the consultation procedure (based on Article 78(3) of the Treaty), on the temporary emergency rules for the relocation of the 40,000 asylum seekers initially proposed by the Commission on 27 May. It will be consulted in the coming months on the additional figure of 120,000 to be relocated under the second emergency proposal announced today.
On 20 July, EU interior ministers agreed, as a first step, to the relocation of 32,256 persons and to update the figures by December with a view to reaching the overall number of 40,000

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Tougher rules on money laundering to fight tax evasion and terrorist financing

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 maggio 2015

european parliamentThe ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a “legitimate interest”, such as investigative journalists, under new rules already agreed with the Council and endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. The new anti-money laundering directive aims to step up the fight against tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved.The fourth anti-money laundering directive (AMLD) will for the first time oblige EU member states to keep central registers of information on the ultimate “beneficial” owners of corporate and other legal entities, as well as trusts. These central registers were not envisaged in the European Commission’s initial proposal, but were included by MEPs in negotiations.The text also sets out specific reporting obligations for banks, auditors, lawyers, real estate agents and casinos, among others, on suspicious transactions made by their clients.The central registers will be accessible to the authorities and their financial intelligence units (without any restriction), to “obliged entities” (such as banks doing their “customer due diligence” duties), and also to the public (although public access may be subject to online registration of the person requesting it and to a fee to cover administrative costs).
To access a register, a person or organisation (e.g. investigative journalists or NGOs) will in any event have to demonstrate a “legitimate interest” in suspected money laundering, terrorist financing and in “predicate” offences that may help to finance them, such as corruption, tax crimes and fraud.These persons could access information such as the beneficial owner’s name, month and year of birth, nationality, country of residence and details of ownership. Any exemption to the access provided by member states will be possible only “on a case-by-case basis, in exceptional circumstances”.Central register information on trusts will be accessible only to the authorities and “obliged entities”.
The text clarifies the rules on “politically-exposed” persons”, i.e. people at a higher than usual risk of corruption due to the political positions they hold, such as heads of state, members of government, supreme court judges, and members of parliament, as well as their family members.Where there are high-risk business relationships with such persons, additional measures should be put in place, e.g. to establish the source of wealth and source of funds involved, says the directive.
MEPs also approved a “transfers of funds” regulation, which aims to improve the traceability of payers and payees and their assets.
Member states will have two years to transpose the anti-money laundering directive into their national laws. The transfers of funds regulation will be directly applicable in all member states 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal.

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Drugs: MEPs give green light to the launch of negotiations

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 9 febbraio 2015

drogheThe Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee decided on Thursday to open the negotiations on the legislative files on new psychoactive substances and on criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking. The three-way talks between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission (trialogues) will start after the Council reaches a general approach on these files.
The proposed rules aim to ensure that harmful psychoactive substances, known as “legal highs”, are withdrawn rapidly from the EU market. In their first reading vote on 17 April 2014, MEPs sought to protect the health and safety of young people from these drugs, whilst ensuring that trade in lower risk substances for industrial and commercial uses is not hindered. Criminals who breach the ban on the most harmful substances could face up to ten years in jail. Previous press release. The mandate for the negotiations correspond to the amendments adopted in plenary during the previous term, as reconfirmed by the Civil Liberties Committee in its decision to resume its “unfinished business” (rule 229 of the EP Rules of Procedure).The decision by the committee to enter into negotiations with the Council and the Commission in view of an agreement also includes a decision on the composition of the EP negotiating teams.Mandate on new psychoactive substances and on criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking
Rapporteurs: Michał Boni (EPP, PL), for the new psychoactive substances, and Teresa Jiménez-Becerril (EPP, ES), for the criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking. EP negotiating team for new psychoactive substances: Michał Boni (EPP, PL), as rapporteur, and shadow rapporteurs Anna Hedh (S&D), Helga Stevens (ECR), Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz (ALDE), Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL), Bodil Ceballos (Greens/EFA) and Gerard Batten (EFDD) EP negotiating team for criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking: Teresa Jiménez-Becerril (EPP, ES), as rapporteur, and shadow rapporteurs Anna Hedh (S&D), Helga Stevens (ECR), Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz (ALDE), Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL), Bodil Ceballos (Greens/EFA) and Gerard Batten (EFDD) Results of the votes on the decisions on the opening of negotiations: 51 votes in favour and 3 against

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