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Artificial intelligence, data protection and elections

20-05-2019

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case in 2018, revealing alleged misuse of personal data for political advertising, demonstrated how the underlying values of the European data protection rules are essential for democracy. The EU has recently adopted a series of additional initiatives to support free and fair elections, reflected not least in European Parliament (EP) debates and resolutions.

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case in 2018, revealing alleged misuse of personal data for political advertising, demonstrated how the underlying values of the European data protection rules are essential for democracy. The EU has recently adopted a series of additional initiatives to support free and fair elections, reflected not least in European Parliament (EP) debates and resolutions.

LGBTI in Africa: Widespread discrimination against people with non-conforming sexual orientations and gender identities

16-05-2019

Three out of five African countries have laws criminalising homosexuality and the public expression of sexual or gender behaviour that does not conform with heterosexual norms. These same laws even sometimes punish LGBTI (lesbian, gay, trans, intersex) rights advocacy. Some African countries have partly decriminalised LGBTI persons or given them better protection. However, across the continent – with the notable exception of South Africa – such persons are still far from fully enjoying the same rights ...

Three out of five African countries have laws criminalising homosexuality and the public expression of sexual or gender behaviour that does not conform with heterosexual norms. These same laws even sometimes punish LGBTI (lesbian, gay, trans, intersex) rights advocacy. Some African countries have partly decriminalised LGBTI persons or given them better protection. However, across the continent – with the notable exception of South Africa – such persons are still far from fully enjoying the same rights as other citizens. Furthermore, recent years have seen the emergence of a worrying trend: the adoption of tougher legislation coupled with clampdowns on homosexuals. An argument frequently used in support of discriminatory legislative and other measures targeting LGBTI persons is that non-conforming sexual orientations and gender identities were brought to Africa by Western colonisers and are contrary to the 'African values'. This claim has long been proven false by academic research, but tolerance for LGBTI is still very low in most African countries, and LGBTI people are all too often exposed to discrimination and violence. Against this backdrop, the EU institutions and Member States have a difficult task: on the one hand, they are committed under the Treaties to promote the EU core values in their external relations, and to monitor and tackle abuses in their partner countries. On the other hand, their actions and declarations in this area risk reinforcing the perception that the EU is trying to impose non-African values on Africa, all the more so since the notion of sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for discrimination is contested by African countries in the multilateral arena.

The rights of LGBTI people in the European Union

16-05-2019

The prohibition of discrimination, and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons persists throughout the EU, taking various forms including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as grounds of discrimination. However, the scope of the provisions dealing with this issue is limited and does not cover social protection, healthcare ...

The prohibition of discrimination, and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons persists throughout the EU, taking various forms including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as grounds of discrimination. However, the scope of the provisions dealing with this issue is limited and does not cover social protection, healthcare, education and access to goods and services, leaving LGBTI people particularly vulnerable in these areas. Moreover, EU competence does not extend to recognition of marital or family status. In this area, national regulations vary, with some Member States offering same-sex couples the right to marry, others allowing alternative forms of registration, and yet others not providing any legal status for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples may or may not have the right to adopt children and to access assisted reproduction. These divergent legal statuses have implications, for instance, for partners from two Member States with different standards who want to formalise/legalise their relationship, or for same-sex couples and their families wishing to move to another Member State. Combating discrimination has become part of EU internal and external policies, and the subject of numerous resolutions of the European Parliament. However, action in this area remains problematic when it touches on issues pertaining to areas traditionally reserved to Member States, such as marital status and family law. This is a further updated version of a Briefing originally drafted by Piotr Bakowski. The previous edition was published in June 2018.

Outcome of the informal meeting of EU-27 leaders on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu

13-05-2019

EU-27 Heads of State or Government met on 9 May 2019 in the Romanian city of Sibiu, to discuss the Union’s common future. They adopted the Sibiu Declaration, recalling the achievements and values of the European Union. EU leaders reaffirmed their unity, and recognised the role they have to play to make the EU stronger and the future brighter. They also discussed the forthcoming Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024, which will outline policy priorities for the next five years. The European Council President ...

EU-27 Heads of State or Government met on 9 May 2019 in the Romanian city of Sibiu, to discuss the Union’s common future. They adopted the Sibiu Declaration, recalling the achievements and values of the European Union. EU leaders reaffirmed their unity, and recognised the role they have to play to make the EU stronger and the future brighter. They also discussed the forthcoming Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024, which will outline policy priorities for the next five years. The European Council President, Donald Tusk, suggested a process for the forthcoming appointments to a set of high-level EU positions, and called a special summit for 28 May.

Police cooperation achievements during the legislative term 2014-2019: the role of the European Parliament

13-05-2019

Effective police cooperation is a key step in turning the EU into an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) based on respect for fundamental rights. Cross-border law enforcement cooperation – involving the police, customs and other law enforcement services – is designed to prevent, detect and investigate criminal offences across the EU. In practice, this cooperation mainly concerns serious crime (organised crime, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and cybercrime) and terrorism. Considerable ...

Effective police cooperation is a key step in turning the EU into an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) based on respect for fundamental rights. Cross-border law enforcement cooperation – involving the police, customs and other law enforcement services – is designed to prevent, detect and investigate criminal offences across the EU. In practice, this cooperation mainly concerns serious crime (organised crime, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and cybercrime) and terrorism. Considerable progress in strengthening police cooperation was made during the 2014-2019 legislative term. Most importantly, the new Europol Regulation took effect in May 2017. In Parliament, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) is responsible for measures relating to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, including terrorism, and substantive and procedural measures relating to the development of a more coherent EU approach to criminal law, in accordance with Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Judicial cooperation in criminal matters achievements during the legislative term 2014-2019: the role of the European Parliament

13-05-2019

Judicial cooperation in criminal matters is based on the principle of mutual recognition of judgments and judicial decisions, and includes measures to approximate the laws of the Member States in several areas. It includes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the areas of particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension: terrorism, trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of women and children, illicit drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking ...

Judicial cooperation in criminal matters is based on the principle of mutual recognition of judgments and judicial decisions, and includes measures to approximate the laws of the Member States in several areas. It includes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the areas of particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension: terrorism, trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of women and children, illicit drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting of means of payment, computer crime and organised crime. Considerable progress was made in developing the judicial cooperation in criminal matters in all these areas during the legislative term 2014-2019. Most importantly, the new Eurojust Regulation will take effect in December 2019 and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is expected to start operating from late 2020 or early 2021 onwards. In Parliament, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) is responsible for measures relating to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, including terrorism, and substantive and procedural measures relating to the development of a more coherent Union approach to criminal law, according to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Area of freedom, security and justice: Cost of Non-Europe

08-05-2019

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They ...

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They also have a negative effect on budgetary spending, growth and tax revenue, which is estimated at at least €180 billion annually, with the lack of enforcement of EU values still to be assessed in more detail. Further EU action in four main areas: 1. monitoring and enforcement; 2. the creation of safe legal pathways for migrants and asylum seekers to enter the EU; 3. ingraining a European law enforcement culture; and 4. completing the Union’s fundamental rights framework, would have significant benefits. In particular, it could allow individuals to fully enjoy their fundamental rights and make EU society more secure, open, fair and prosperous. This would also foster trust in the EU on the basis of its ability to deliver on its aims

Assessing the Leaders’ Agenda

06-05-2019

The Leaders' Agenda can be assessed rather favourably as it has enabled more structured work and better preparation by all actors concerned. This method can be recommended for the future work of the European Council as it allows a consistent follow-up. However, it has not helped to overcome deadlock on some of the most sensitive issues, such as migration and taxation.

The Leaders' Agenda can be assessed rather favourably as it has enabled more structured work and better preparation by all actors concerned. This method can be recommended for the future work of the European Council as it allows a consistent follow-up. However, it has not helped to overcome deadlock on some of the most sensitive issues, such as migration and taxation.

Living in the EU: Asylum and Migration

30-04-2019

Migration from third countries plays an important role in shaping demography in Member States. In addition to the free movement-based internal population flows, Europe has received large numbers of immigrants from outside Europe for many decades. In this context, recent asylum flows to the European Union might contribute to the mitigation of important demographic challenges, depending on the official recognition of asylum-seekers as refugees, their integration into host societies and their own professional ...

Migration from third countries plays an important role in shaping demography in Member States. In addition to the free movement-based internal population flows, Europe has received large numbers of immigrants from outside Europe for many decades. In this context, recent asylum flows to the European Union might contribute to the mitigation of important demographic challenges, depending on the official recognition of asylum-seekers as refugees, their integration into host societies and their own professional qualifications and experience.

The protection of fundamental rights in the EU: European Parliament achievements during the 2014-2019 legislative term and challenges for the future

17-04-2019

In the years between 2014 and 2019, the EU has faced serious challenges related to the protection of fundamental rights within its territory, notably in connection to the Rule of Law (RoL) and democracy in some EU Member States. The Commission and the European Parliament (EP), led by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), have addressed these challenges by activating - for the first time since its introduction in the Treaties - the procedure foreseen in art. 7.1 TEU, respectively ...

In the years between 2014 and 2019, the EU has faced serious challenges related to the protection of fundamental rights within its territory, notably in connection to the Rule of Law (RoL) and democracy in some EU Member States. The Commission and the European Parliament (EP), led by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), have addressed these challenges by activating - for the first time since its introduction in the Treaties - the procedure foreseen in art. 7.1 TEU, respectively against Poland and against Hungary. The EP has also consolidated its former requests under the proposal for an EU mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental rights (EU DRF Pact). Important legislative dossiers on procedural rights were approved (presumption of innocence, safeguards for children in criminal proceedings, legal aid). While the EP continued to report annually on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU and on traditional issues of interest (among which minorities, Roma, anti-Semitism, right-wing extremism, prisons, media freedom, as well as follow up activities on mass surveillance and CIA), it has also addressed new issues, such as protection of whistle-blowers (a Commission proposal was issued following insistence of the EP), islamophobia, afrophobia and fundamental rights of intersex persons. The EP has also adopted resolutions on the situation in specific Member States, such as Malta, Slovakia, Romania, expressing Rule of Law concerns. Among the challenges that remain open for the next term are the art. 7 TEU procedures against Hungary and Poland, the strengthening of the protection of art. 2 TEU values including through the promotion of the EU DRF Pact, the EU accession to the ECHR, the enhancement of the EU and EP monitoring mechanisms, the adoption of pending files, including the Rule of Law conditionality for EU funds, the Rights and Values and Justice programmes, the equal treatment directive, the reform of the transparency regulation and, in the longer term; the reform of the Treaties.

Eelseisvad üritused

25-06-2019
Meeting EU energy and climate goals: Energy storage for grids and low-carbon mobility
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