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Europol: The EU law enforcement cooperation agency

19-09-2019

Evolving from informal police cooperation in the 1970s to a fully fledged European Union (EU) agency with a strengthened mandate under its new legal basis (Regulation (EU) 2016/794), Europol's mandate is to strengthen EU Member States' competent authorities and ensure their cooperation for the purpose of 'preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy'. The agency is therefore empowered ...

Evolving from informal police cooperation in the 1970s to a fully fledged European Union (EU) agency with a strengthened mandate under its new legal basis (Regulation (EU) 2016/794), Europol's mandate is to strengthen EU Member States' competent authorities and ensure their cooperation for the purpose of 'preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy'. The agency is therefore empowered to tackle more than 30 forms of serious crime and related criminal offences, including terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking in arms and ammunition. To fulfil its objectives, Europol carries out a series of tasks, including the core activities of performing as the EU criminal information exchange hub and providing operational support and expertise to Member States' criminal investigations. To frame Europol's activities, the Europol Regulation strengthens its data management and data protection rules and provides for enhanced scrutiny: political scrutiny – by a new parliamentary oversight body made up of representatives of the European Parliament and Member States' national parliaments; and scrutiny of its data processing operations – by the European Data Protection Supervisor. Furthermore, the Regulation reforms the framework for Europol's cooperation with partners such as third countries and international organisations, which also allows for an increased role for the Commission and the European Parliament. On the occasion of Europol's 20th anniversary, this briefing provides a timeline of the agency's establishment and consolidation; an overview of its competences, structure and functioning under the current legal framework; as well as some elements related to further developments.

EU guidelines on ethics in artificial intelligence: Context and implementation

19-09-2019

The discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and their impact on society is increasingly focused on the question of whether AI should be regulated. Following the call from the European Parliament to update and complement the existing Union legal framework with guiding ethical principles, the EU has carved out a 'human-centric' approach to AI that is respectful of European values and principles. As part of this approach, the EU published its guidelines on ethics in AI in April 2019 ...

The discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and their impact on society is increasingly focused on the question of whether AI should be regulated. Following the call from the European Parliament to update and complement the existing Union legal framework with guiding ethical principles, the EU has carved out a 'human-centric' approach to AI that is respectful of European values and principles. As part of this approach, the EU published its guidelines on ethics in AI in April 2019, and European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that the Commission will soon put forward further legislative proposals for a coordinated European approach to the human and ethical implications of AI. Against this background, this paper aims to shed some light on the ethical rules that are now recommended when designing, developing, deploying, implementing or using AI products and services in the EU. Moreover, it identifies some implementation challenges and presents possible further EU action ranging from soft law guidance to standardisation to legislation in the field of ethics and AI. There are calls for clarifying the EU guidelines, fostering the adoption of ethical standards and adopting legally binding instruments to, inter alia, set common rules on transparency and common requirements for fundamental rights impact assessments, and to provide an adequate legal framework for face recognition technology. Finally, the paper gives an overview of the main ethical frameworks for AI under development in countries such as the United States and China.

La mise en œuvre du nouveau cadre de partenariat avec les pays tiers: Le cas du Niger

03-09-2019

Le Niger, pays de croisement de nombreuses routes migratoires au Sahel, s'est montré le plus réactif, parmi ceux de l'Afrique subsaharienne, aux sollicitations européennes pour renforcer la lutte contre la migration irrégulière – un des objectifs clefs du nouveau cadre de partenariat de l'Union européenne (UE) avec les pays tiers. Ce cadre offre de nouvelles opportunités de coopération en contrepartie du durcissement de la politique migratoire. Le gouvernement nigérien a donc mis en œuvre une règlementation ...

Le Niger, pays de croisement de nombreuses routes migratoires au Sahel, s'est montré le plus réactif, parmi ceux de l'Afrique subsaharienne, aux sollicitations européennes pour renforcer la lutte contre la migration irrégulière – un des objectifs clefs du nouveau cadre de partenariat de l'Union européenne (UE) avec les pays tiers. Ce cadre offre de nouvelles opportunités de coopération en contrepartie du durcissement de la politique migratoire. Le gouvernement nigérien a donc mis en œuvre une règlementation stricte criminalisant toute assistance aux étrangers en transit. En matière de sécurité, le gouvernement de Niamey, qui doit faire face à l'instabilité régionale et la criminalité transfrontalière, et l'UE, qui gère une pression migratoire importante, ont des intérêts convergents, ce qui explique l'intensification de la coopération depuis 2015-2016. La diminution des flux migratoires qui en résulte, applaudie par les partenaires européens, a des conséquences néfastes sur l'économie locale centrée sur le fait migratoire. La crise économique menace les équilibres fragiles des ethnies du Sahara entre elles ainsi qu'avec le gouvernement central et renforce l'insécurité, tant pour les migrants victimes des abus que pour la population locale, encore plus fragilisée. Le Parlement européen a mis en garde dès 2017 contre une vision trop étroite et à court terme de la politique externe de l'UE et contre le risque de détourner les fonds de la politique du développement vers les objectifs purement sécuritaires, en plaidant pour une approche de la migration centrée sur les droits de l'homme. Il soutient également le plan d'investissement extérieur, un de bras financier du nouveau cadre de partenariat, qui doit encourager des investissements privés en faveur du développement.

Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation

24-07-2019

In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchains and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Whereas, the GDPR is based on an underlying assumption that in relation to each personal data point there is at least one the data controller, blockchains make the allocation of responsibility and accountability burdensome. Further, although the GDPR is based on the assumption that data can ...

In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchains and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Whereas, the GDPR is based on an underlying assumption that in relation to each personal data point there is at least one the data controller, blockchains make the allocation of responsibility and accountability burdensome. Further, although the GDPR is based on the assumption that data can be modified or erased where necessary to comply with legal requirements, blockchains, however, render the unilateral modification of data purposefully onerous in order to ensure data integrity and to increase trust in the network.

Išorės autorius

This study was written by Dr Michèle Finck

Use of financial data for preventing and combatting serious crime

19-07-2019

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The ...

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The proposal also aims to strengthen domestic and cross-border exchange of information between EU Member States' competent authorities, including law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units, as well as with Europol. The provisional agreement reached in February 2019 in interinstitutional negotiations was adopted by the European Parliament on 17 April 2019, followed by the Council on 14 June. On 20 June 2019, the directive was signed into law and then published in the Official Journal on 11 July. Member States have until 1 August 2021 to transpose its provisions into national law.

Detecting and protecting victims of trafficking in hotspots

15-07-2019

This study focuses on the issue of trafficking in human beings in the specific context of hotspots. It analyses the processes in place to facilitate the detection of victims when they arrive by sea on Greek and Italian shores, as well as the protection they are granted.

This study focuses on the issue of trafficking in human beings in the specific context of hotspots. It analyses the processes in place to facilitate the detection of victims when they arrive by sea on Greek and Italian shores, as well as the protection they are granted.

(Non-)replacement of Commissioners elected to EP

03-07-2019

Having been elected to the European Parliament, two current members of the College of Commissioners have resigned as Commissioners in order to take up their seats. As a general rule, a vacancy caused in this way needs to be filled by a new Commissioner of the same nationality – unless the Council unanimously decides otherwise. On 16 June 2019, given the short duration of the remainder of the current Commission’s mandate, the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, proposed not to replace the departing ...

Having been elected to the European Parliament, two current members of the College of Commissioners have resigned as Commissioners in order to take up their seats. As a general rule, a vacancy caused in this way needs to be filled by a new Commissioner of the same nationality – unless the Council unanimously decides otherwise. On 16 June 2019, given the short duration of the remainder of the current Commission’s mandate, the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, proposed not to replace the departing Commissioners.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protection of EU external borders

28-06-2019

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders ...

The unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU, which peaked in 2015, exposed a series of deficiencies and gaps in EU policies on external borders. It affected the functioning of the Schengen rules, leading to the re-introduction of border checks by several Member States. In response to these challenges, as well as the surge in terrorist and serious cross-border crime activities, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at strengthening its external borders by reinforcing the links between border controls and security. On the one hand, measures for protecting the EU's external borders have focused on reinforcing EU border management rules, such as the Schengen Borders Code, and strengthening and upgrading the mandates of relevant EU agencies, such as Frontex, eu-LISA, Europol and EASO. On the other hand, in connection with a number of key shortcomings in the EU's information systems, efforts were made to improve use of the opportunities offered by information systems and technologies for security, criminal records, and border and migration management. This included strengthening existing IT systems (SIS II, VIS, Eurodac, ECRIS-TCN), establishing new ones (ETIAS, Entry/Exit System) and improving their interoperability. The broader mandate and the increase of activities in the area of EU border management is also reflected in the growing amounts, flexibility, and diversity of EU funds, inside and outside the current and future EU budget. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against terrorism

28-06-2019

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between ...

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between internal and external security, has come to shape EU action beyond its own borders. EU spending in the area of counter-terrorism has increased over the years and is set to grow in the future, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security, such as Europol and eu-LISA. Financing for cooperation with third countries has also increased, including through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted since 2014 range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. To evaluate the efficiency of the existing tools and identify gaps and possible ways forward, the European Parliament set up a Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR), which delivered its report in November 2018. TERR made extensive recommendations for immediate or longer term actions aiming to prevent terrorism, combat its root causes, protect EU citizens and assist victims in the best possible way. In line with these recommendations, future EU counterterrorism action will most probably focus on addressing existing and new threats, countering radicalisation – including by preventing the spread of terrorist propaganda online – and enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure. Foreseeable developments also include increased information sharing, with planned interoperability between EU security- and border-related databases, as well as investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes at EU level, through the proposed extension of the mandate of the recently established European Public Prosecutor's Office. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Key issues in the European Council

20-06-2019

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues ...

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Būsimi renginiai

01-10-2019
Health threats from climate change: Scientific evidence for policy-making
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