Draft rules to make it easier for national authorities to freeze and confiscate criminals' assets across the EU were beefed up by the Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday. However, MEPs also sought to safeguard the right to a fair trial. They also called upon member states to use confiscated assets to fight crime and for social projects. The draft law, which must still be negotiated with national governments, is part of a broader EU strategy to fight fraud and corruption.
The Civil Liberties Committee will debate on Monday and Tuesday two draft laws updating the current data protection legislation. A proposal for a regulation covering the bulk of personal data processing in the EU, both online and off-line, will be discussed from 16.45 on Monday. A draft directive, concerning data processed in criminal investigations, will be debated from 12.10 on Tuesday.
New rules to ensure that chemicals used in industrial processes, such as manufacturing plastics, textiles, aspirin, flu and allergy remedies, dyes and perfumes, are not diverted to the illegal production of heroin, speed or crack were adopted by the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday and by the International Trade Committee on Thursday.
A European Commission proposal to allow the use of EU air passenger name record (PNR) data in investigating serious crime and terrorist offences was rejected by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs Wednesday, by 30 votes to 25.
Member states’ police forces and Europol would gain access to asylum seekers’ fingerprints in the Eurodac database to help them fight terrorism and serious crime, under a provisional deal between Parliament and Council endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday. MEPs ensured that personal data would be duly protected and that police access would be limited to cases where there is a major public security concern.
Asylum seekers would get fairer, more uniform access to international protection across the EU under a draft law agreed by Parliament and Council representatives and endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday. This draft law is one of the five acts forming the backbone of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), to be put to a plenary vote in June.
Reimposing visa requirements on nationals of third countries that fail to remove them for EU citizens would be made easier by visa reciprocity rule changes voted in the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday. The EU could also temporarily suspend its visa-free travel rules to halt "substantial and sudden increases" in irregular migrant numbers or unfounded asylum applications, but only as a last resort, MEPs added. But these changes have first to be agreed with EU member states.
The "right to be forgotten", explicit consent before a person's data is collected and a ban on profiling on the basis of ethnic, religious or sexual orientation criteria are among the main demands for data protection reform made by the legal affairs committee in a non-binding opinion adopted on Tuesday.
Investigative journalism should be supported in the EU and media independence protected from political and economic pressures, says the Civil Liberties Committee in a resolution on media freedom voted on Thursday. MEPs want annual EU-wide monitoring of media laws and measures, both to protect media freedom and to help prevent excessive media concentration.
Ukrainian journalists, civil society representatives, NGOs and young people would face fewer hurdles to travel to the EU under an amended EU-Ukraine visa facilitation agreement backed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday.