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The concept of 'climate refugee': Towards a possible definition

18-10-2021

According to statistics published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, since 2008 over 318 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes or droughts, 30.7 million in 2020 alone. This is equivalent to one person being displaced every second. Depending on the frequency and scale of the major natural disasters occurring, there are significant fluctuations in the total number of displaced people from one year to the next, yet the trend over ...

According to statistics published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, since 2008 over 318 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes or droughts, 30.7 million in 2020 alone. This is equivalent to one person being displaced every second. Depending on the frequency and scale of the major natural disasters occurring, there are significant fluctuations in the total number of displaced people from one year to the next, yet the trend over recent decades has been a growing one. Many find refuge within their own country, but some are forced to go abroad. In the summer of 2021, Europe witnessed heavy and unprecedented flooding, particularly in Belgium and Germany, and heat domes in the Mediterranean region. Scientists relate this directly to climate change. All things considered, the number of 'climate refugees' looks set to rise. So far, the national and international response to this challenge has been limited, and protection for the people affected remains inadequate. What adds further to the gap in protection of such people – who are often described as 'climate refugees' – is that there is neither a clear definition of this category of people, nor are they covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention. The latter extends only to people who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, and who are unable or unwilling to seek protection from their home countries. While the EU has not so far recognised climate refugees formally, it has expressed growing concern and has taken action to support the countries potentially affected by climate-related stress and help them develop resilience. This briefing is an update of an earlier one from January 2019.

Outlook for the European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021

15-10-2021

The regular European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021 will discuss the coronavirus pandemic, digital policy, migration, energy prices and external relations. Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, EU Heads of State or Government will focus on EU coordination, resilience and readiness in terms of health crises and the EU's future preparedness for the short and medium terms. The discussions at the meeting on both digital policy and on migration are expected to be stock-taking exercises, assessing ...

The regular European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021 will discuss the coronavirus pandemic, digital policy, migration, energy prices and external relations. Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, EU Heads of State or Government will focus on EU coordination, resilience and readiness in terms of health crises and the EU's future preparedness for the short and medium terms. The discussions at the meeting on both digital policy and on migration are expected to be stock-taking exercises, assessing the implementation of previous European Council decisions and possibly adding further specifications to them. If the update of the Schengen Borders Code were to be addressed in the context of migration, this could generate a strong debate, since despite overall support for strong external EU borders, Member States have diverging views on how border protection should be assured. EU leaders could also debate energy prices at length, as the issue has become high profile in many Member States. Regarding external relations, discussions in the European Council will focus on preparations for forthcoming international events, notably the ASEM and the Eastern Partnership summits, and the COP26 climate conference. In addition, the Presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, may brief EU Heads of State or Government on the recent EU-Ukraine Summit, held on 12 October 2021.

Improving the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism

04-10-2021

The European Commission proposed to improve the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism established by Regulation (EU) No 1053/2013. The accompanying impact assessment (IA) provides a well defined problem definition, substantiated with evidence. Furthermore, the stakeholder opinions are reported consistently throughout the IA and are used as input for the combination of measures under the preferred option. Moreover, the data sources underpinning the IA are recent, reliable, consistently referenced ...

The European Commission proposed to improve the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism established by Regulation (EU) No 1053/2013. The accompanying impact assessment (IA) provides a well defined problem definition, substantiated with evidence. Furthermore, the stakeholder opinions are reported consistently throughout the IA and are used as input for the combination of measures under the preferred option. Moreover, the data sources underpinning the IA are recent, reliable, consistently referenced and publicly available at the time of writing. However, the focus of the IA analysis is predominantly on the administrative costs and benefits, while the assessment of economic, social and fundamental rights impacts of the Mechanism’s functioning remains very limited and their quantification was not possible.

Effective remedies for asylum-seekers at EU external borders: A new pact on migration and asylum

04-10-2021

The European Union's objectives in the field of external border protection are to safeguard freedom of movement within the Schengen area (an area without internal borders) and to ensure efficient monitoring of people who cross the EU's external borders. To strengthen its external borders and prevent irregular migrants from reaching EU territory, the EU has focused on extending its partnerships with third countries as well as on reinforcing and providing its border agencies with stronger means and ...

The European Union's objectives in the field of external border protection are to safeguard freedom of movement within the Schengen area (an area without internal borders) and to ensure efficient monitoring of people who cross the EU's external borders. To strengthen its external borders and prevent irregular migrants from reaching EU territory, the EU has focused on extending its partnerships with third countries as well as on reinforcing and providing its border agencies with stronger means and powers. Furthermore, a new pact on migration and asylum, presented in 2020 but still the subject of negotiations between the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, introduces a new set of border procedures as a key 'migration management tool' in the event of the arrival of a large number of asylum applicants from third countries. When conducting border management and immigration control, states' authorities need to respect international legal requirements that protect the human rights of non-nationals who are subjected to border checks, by providing effective remedies for human rights violations at borders, such as a possibility to lodge an appeal against a decision before a competent, independent and impartial national authority. At the European and EU level, a range of human rights standards have been developed that regulate the powers of individual states when allowing or refusing entry to irregular immigrants and asylum-seekers and when implementing their expulsion to countries from which they have come or transited on their way.

Asylagentur der Europäischen Union

30-09-2021

Nach jahrelangem Stillstand erzielten die Verhandlungsführer des Parlaments und des Rates im Juni 2021 eine vorläufige Einigung über einen Vorschlag von 2016 für eine Änderungsverordnung zum Europäischen Unterstützungsbüro für Asylfragen (EASO). Dieses EU-Büro stellt Instrumente und operative Unterstützung bereit, um die Mitgliedstaaten bei der Vorbereitung auf einen Zustrom von Asylbewerbern und bei der Umsetzung der EU-Asylvorschriften vor Ort zu unterstützen. Es unterstützt auch Mitgliedstaaten ...

Nach jahrelangem Stillstand erzielten die Verhandlungsführer des Parlaments und des Rates im Juni 2021 eine vorläufige Einigung über einen Vorschlag von 2016 für eine Änderungsverordnung zum Europäischen Unterstützungsbüro für Asylfragen (EASO). Dieses EU-Büro stellt Instrumente und operative Unterstützung bereit, um die Mitgliedstaaten bei der Vorbereitung auf einen Zustrom von Asylbewerbern und bei der Umsetzung der EU-Asylvorschriften vor Ort zu unterstützen. Es unterstützt auch Mitgliedstaaten, die in Asylangelegenheiten besonderem Druck ausgesetzt sind. Nach einer Abstimmung im Ausschuss für bürgerliche Freiheiten, Justiz und Inneres (LIBE) vom Juli 2021 soll die vorläufige Einigung auf der Oktober-I-Plenartagung erörtert werden.

Künstliche Intelligenz im Strafrecht

30-09-2021

Der Einsatz von künstlicher Intelligenz (KI) in einer Vielzahl von Bereichen ist Gegenstand einer breiten Debatte auf EU-Ebene. Die Erarbeitung eines EU-Konzepts für KI ist eine der Prioritäten der Kommission im Hinblick auf den digitalen Wandel, wie der Vorschlag für ein Gesetz über künstliche Intelligenz veranschaulicht. Den enormen Möglichkeiten, die KI-Anwendungen eröffnen, stehen allerdings auch erhebliche Risiken für die Grundrechte der Menschen gegenüber. Die Tagesordnung der Oktober-I-Plenartagung ...

Der Einsatz von künstlicher Intelligenz (KI) in einer Vielzahl von Bereichen ist Gegenstand einer breiten Debatte auf EU-Ebene. Die Erarbeitung eines EU-Konzepts für KI ist eine der Prioritäten der Kommission im Hinblick auf den digitalen Wandel, wie der Vorschlag für ein Gesetz über künstliche Intelligenz veranschaulicht. Den enormen Möglichkeiten, die KI-Anwendungen eröffnen, stehen allerdings auch erhebliche Risiken für die Grundrechte der Menschen gegenüber. Die Tagesordnung der Oktober-I-Plenartagung des Europäischen Parlaments sieht eine Aussprache über einen Initiativbericht über den Einsatz von KI durch Polizei und Justizbehörden in Strafsachen vor.

Holocaust denial in criminal law: Legal frameworks in selected EU Member States

29-09-2021

The Holocaust ('Shoah' in Hebrew) – the mass murder of 6 million European Jews, Roma and other persecuted groups, whom the Nazi regime and its collaborators sought to annihilate – took place in Europe. It is therefore not surprising that a trend to address negationism – i.e. unfounded theories questioning certain historical events – by means of criminal law, originated in Europe. With time, the scope of criminalisation has been extended to cover not only the Shoah, but also other internationally ...

The Holocaust ('Shoah' in Hebrew) – the mass murder of 6 million European Jews, Roma and other persecuted groups, whom the Nazi regime and its collaborators sought to annihilate – took place in Europe. It is therefore not surprising that a trend to address negationism – i.e. unfounded theories questioning certain historical events – by means of criminal law, originated in Europe. With time, the scope of criminalisation has been extended to cover not only the Shoah, but also other internationally recognised crimes. Such prohibition is, however, not without controversy as it may interfere with fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and academic freedom. The Council of Europe has played a major role in addressing Holocaust denial, in particular through the case law of the European Court of Human Rights pertaining to the limits of freedom of expression. The Court has consistently excluded negationism from the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights, pointing to the antisemitic nature of the prohibited statements and qualifying them as abuse of rights. In the European Union (EU), a 2008 Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia sought to align national legislation on historical denialism. Yet, national laws still differ in many respects, such as the definition of offences and the range of historical events, the memory of which they serve to protect. This Briefing looks at criminal provisions in 17 selected EU Member States: Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. It attempts to identify the main elements of the criminal conduct and of the corresponding punishment. The following EPRS policy analysists have contributed to the country analyses: Piotr Bąkowski (Poland), Carmen-Cristina Cirlig (Romania), David De Groot (Netherlands), Micaela Del Monte (Luxembourg and Portugal), Angelos Delivorias (Greece), Fabiana Fracanzino (Spain and Italy), Fruzsina Fuzesi (Hungary), Vilma Karvelyte-Shetty (Lithuania), Karoline Kowald (Austria), Katrien Luyten (Belgium), Hendrik Mildebrath (Germany), Marketa Pape (Czechia), Anja Radjenovic (Slovenia), Branislav Stanicek (Slovakia), and Sofija Voronova (France).

Understanding the EU's response to illicit drugs

28-09-2021

The EU is an important market for illicit drugs, both in terms of consumption and production. An estimated 28.9 % of European adults aged 15-65 have used illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime, a majority of them being men. Cannabis remains by far the most used drug, followed by cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy or molly) and amphetamines. Illicit drugs have been claiming an increasing number of lives in the EU since 2012, but their impact goes far beyond the harm caused by their use. The illicit drugs ...

The EU is an important market for illicit drugs, both in terms of consumption and production. An estimated 28.9 % of European adults aged 15-65 have used illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime, a majority of them being men. Cannabis remains by far the most used drug, followed by cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy or molly) and amphetamines. Illicit drugs have been claiming an increasing number of lives in the EU since 2012, but their impact goes far beyond the harm caused by their use. The illicit drugs market is the largest criminal market in the EU, with an estimated minimum retail value of €30 billion per year in the EU alone. Over a third of the organised crime groups active in the EU are involved in the trade in illicit drugs, which, besides generating massive criminal profits and inflicting substantial harm, incites associated violence. Drug markets furthermore have links with wider criminal activity, including terrorism; they have a negative impact on the legal economy and communities, cause environmental damage and can fuel corruption and undermine governance. Illicit drugs have been trafficked into and through the EU for decades, but they are also produced in the EU, for both local and global markets, as is the case of cannabis and synthetic drugs such as amphetamines. In fact, the trade in synthetic drugs in the EU is unique compared to other substances as the production of these drugs and new psychoactive substances in most cases takes place in the EU. In 2019, around 1.1 million seizures of illicit drugs were reported in the EU-27 plus Norway, Turkey and the UK. The European drug market has been remarkably resilient to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Although the EU Member States carry the primary responsibility for developing their drug policy and legislation, cross-border cooperation is paramount in the fight against illicit drugs. With the problem constantly expanding in scale and complexity, the EU has been increasingly active since the early 1990s, in particular with respect to law enforcement, health-related issues and the detection and risk assessment of new psychoactive substances.

Regulating facial recognition in the EU

15-09-2021

The European Union is considering regulating facial recognition in the proposed artificial intelligence act, currently under discussion. This EPRS publication explains the state of play and further highlights the concerns raised by the use and the potential impacts on people's fundamental rights of facial recognition technologies. Against this background, the paper explores the current EU legal framework applicable to facial recognition and examines the recent proposals for regulating facial recognition ...

The European Union is considering regulating facial recognition in the proposed artificial intelligence act, currently under discussion. This EPRS publication explains the state of play and further highlights the concerns raised by the use and the potential impacts on people's fundamental rights of facial recognition technologies. Against this background, the paper explores the current EU legal framework applicable to facial recognition and examines the recent proposals for regulating facial recognition technologies at EU level in depth.

Nutzung von SLAPP-Klagen zur Einschüchterung von Journalisten, nichtstaatlichen Organisationen und der Zivilgesellschaft

15-09-2021

Diese Studie, die von der Politischen Abteilung für Bürgerrechte und konstitutionelle Angelegenheiten des Europäischen Parlaments auf Ersuchen des JURI-Ausschusses in Auftrag gegeben wurde, analysiert Rechtsdefinitionen von strategischen Klagen gegen öffentliche Beteiligung (SLAPP) und bewertet die Vereinbarkeit einer Anti-SLAPP-Gesetzgebung mit EU-Recht. Es wird empfohlen, eine Anti-SLAPP-Richtlinie zu verabschieden sowie die Brüssel-Ia-Verordnung und die Rom-II-Verordnung neu zu fassen, um das ...

Diese Studie, die von der Politischen Abteilung für Bürgerrechte und konstitutionelle Angelegenheiten des Europäischen Parlaments auf Ersuchen des JURI-Ausschusses in Auftrag gegeben wurde, analysiert Rechtsdefinitionen von strategischen Klagen gegen öffentliche Beteiligung (SLAPP) und bewertet die Vereinbarkeit einer Anti-SLAPP-Gesetzgebung mit EU-Recht. Es wird empfohlen, eine Anti-SLAPP-Richtlinie zu verabschieden sowie die Brüssel-Ia-Verordnung und die Rom-II-Verordnung neu zu fassen, um das Auftreten von SLAPP-Klagen zu begrenzen.

Externe Autor

Justin BORG-BARTHET Benedetta LOBINA Magdalena ZABROCKA.

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