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Understanding EU counter-terrorism policy

14-01-2021

Faced with a persistent 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 persistent 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, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security and justice, such as Europol, eu-LISA and Eurojust. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted in recent years range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. However, implementing and evaluating the various measures is a challenging task. The European Parliament has played an active role not only in shaping legislation, but also in evaluating existing tools and gaps through the work accomplished by its Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR) in 2018. In line with the Parliament's recommendations, as well as the priorities set by the new European Commission and its counter-terrorism agenda presented in December 2020, future EU counter-terrorism action will focus on better anticipating threats, countering radicalisation and reducing vulnerabilities, by making critical infrastructures more resilient and better protecting public spaces. Upcoming developments also include increased information-sharing, by means of better implementation and modernisation of existing tools, a reinforced mandate for Europol, as well as possible 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 briefing builds on an earlier one, entitled 'The fight against terrorism', published in 2019.

Crisis and force majeure regulation

14-01-2021

In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new pact on asylum and migration. The legislative package related to the pact includes a proposal for a regulation dealing with crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum, aimed at establishing a mechanism for dealing with mass influxes and irregular arrivals of third-country nationals in a Member State. The regulation would set out the solidarity mechanism procedure in the event of returns of irregular migrants applying the ...

In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new pact on asylum and migration. The legislative package related to the pact includes a proposal for a regulation dealing with crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum, aimed at establishing a mechanism for dealing with mass influxes and irregular arrivals of third-country nationals in a Member State. The regulation would set out the solidarity mechanism procedure in the event of returns of irregular migrants applying the possibility for return sponsorship on behalf of another Member State, as established in the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMR). It would also provide for shorter deadlines in comparison to usual procedures under the AMR, when applicable in a crisis situation and for some derogations in crisis situations concerning the asylum crisis management procedure, the return crisis management procedure, and the registration of international protection applications in crisis situations. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Implementing the Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant

13-01-2021

All EU Member States have transposed the 2002 Council Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant (EAW) and the surrender procedures between Member States. During the January 2021 plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate an own-initiative report concerning its implementation.

All EU Member States have transposed the 2002 Council Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant (EAW) and the surrender procedures between Member States. During the January 2021 plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate an own-initiative report concerning its implementation.

Search and rescue in the Mediterranean

12-01-2021

International law imposes an obligation to render assistance to persons and ships in distress at sea, which must be provided regardless of the persons' nationality or status or the circumstances in which they are found. These rules have to be applied without prejudice to the obligations deriving from international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including in particular the prohibition of refoulement. Search and rescue (SAR) and disembarkation activities of EU Member States are ...

International law imposes an obligation to render assistance to persons and ships in distress at sea, which must be provided regardless of the persons' nationality or status or the circumstances in which they are found. These rules have to be applied without prejudice to the obligations deriving from international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including in particular the prohibition of refoulement. Search and rescue (SAR) and disembarkation activities of EU Member States are currently not covered by a common EU legal framework, except for those activities carried out in the context of Frontex-led joint operations at sea. In recent years, a significant proportion of migrants and asylum-seekers in distress at sea have been rescued by EU naval operations, EU agencies and non-governmental organisations in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, over the last couple of years, the Mediterranean Sea has also been the backdrop for the largest number of casualties and missing people. Lack of coordination in search and rescue activities, solitary action by individual countries and criminalisation of non-governmental organisations active in SAR in the Mediterranean lead to migrants being forced to stay for several days and sometimes weeks on boats. EU Member States and EU agencies (Frontex) have also been accused of pushbacks of asylum-seekers and other migrants to the high seas and towards Libya and Turkey. Individual actors dealing with boats of migrants have been a subject of strong criticism and legal action. Their accountability is, however, not always clear, the reason being varied application and interpretation of different bodies of international law. One solution, proposed by academics, could be the harmonisation of the fragmented legal regime for maritime interceptions.

Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 10-11 December 2020

09-12-2020

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey ...

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey. Two crucial issues, which are not on the formal agenda but could dominate discussions, are rule-of-law conditionality for the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU-UK negotiations. EU leaders are also expected to appoint a new member of the European Central Bank's executive board. The Euro Summit on 11 December will focus on the revision of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty and on progress towards a banking union.

Plenary round-up – November II 2020

27-11-2020

During the second November 2020 plenary session, Parliament held a number of debates with Council and the European Commission. Discussions concerned fundamental rights issues such as abortion rights in Poland, the new LGBTIQ equality strategy, and Hungarian interference in the media in Slovenia and North Macedonia. In a debate with Council and Commission, Members also discussed the forthcoming European Council meeting, on 10 11 December 2020. Debates with the Commission included discussion of a new ...

During the second November 2020 plenary session, Parliament held a number of debates with Council and the European Commission. Discussions concerned fundamental rights issues such as abortion rights in Poland, the new LGBTIQ equality strategy, and Hungarian interference in the media in Slovenia and North Macedonia. In a debate with Council and Commission, Members also discussed the forthcoming European Council meeting, on 10 11 December 2020. Debates with the Commission included discussion of a new consumer strategy and a pharmaceutical strategy for Europe. Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell made statements on escalating tensions in Varosha, and on the fight against impunity for crimes committed against journalists around the world, followed by a debate with Members. Members also voted, inter alia, on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, on customs duties on certain products, on tariff quotas with Northern Ireland, as well as on a number of own-initiative reports, including on industrial policy.

The state of play of Schengen governance An assessment of the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism in its first multiannual programme

27-11-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, assesses the operation and impact of the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism in its first multiannual programme (2014-19), with the aim of identifying what has worked well and developing recommendations to strengthen it. The past decade has presented multiple controversies involving the governments of Schengen states as well as EU institutions ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, assesses the operation and impact of the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism in its first multiannual programme (2014-19), with the aim of identifying what has worked well and developing recommendations to strengthen it. The past decade has presented multiple controversies involving the governments of Schengen states as well as EU institutions, leading to a persistent state of apparent crisis. The ongoing “Schengen crisis” is rooted in political changes and in structural shortcomings of the Schengen regime. Despite these obstacles, the resilience of the Schengen system should not be underestimated.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

Martin WAGNER & Caitlin KATSIAFICAS Josephine LIEBL Leila HADJ ABDOU & Lenka DRAŽANOVÁ Julien JEANDESBOZ

Towards a common EU approach to lifting coronavirus-related restrictions on freedom of movement

26-11-2020

In an effort to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, EU Member States started reinstating restrictions on the freedom of movement in October 2020. To prevent a new series of severe and uncoordinated restrictions at countries' internal borders similar to those of March this year, there have been renewed efforts at the EU level to establish a coordinated approach towards coronavirus-related restrictions on movement. While the focus is now on the ongoing health crisis, concerns about ...

In an effort to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, EU Member States started reinstating restrictions on the freedom of movement in October 2020. To prevent a new series of severe and uncoordinated restrictions at countries' internal borders similar to those of March this year, there have been renewed efforts at the EU level to establish a coordinated approach towards coronavirus-related restrictions on movement. While the focus is now on the ongoing health crisis, concerns about the functioning of the Schengen area of free movement predate the pandemic. As recent terrorist attacks in Europe remind us, scant progress and unfinished reforms in the area of migration, external borders and security both weaken and threaten to undo the important achievements of Schengen cooperation. This briefing discusses the key steps taken by the EU to develop a common response to the above challenges and thus to safeguard the Schengen area. It provides an overview of the main restrictions on movement imposed by EU and Schengen countries as of 25 November 2020. Since contact-tracing apps have been promoted as a key tool in combating the pandemic and restoring freedom of movement, this briefing also provides an overview of the existing coronavirus applications in the EU Member States and their interoperability across borders.

The rights of LGBTI people in the European Union

20-11-2020

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) people persists throughout the EU and takes 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, ...

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) people persists throughout the EU and takes 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 or 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 is 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 the preserve of 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 May 2019.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - November 2020

20-11-2020

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Προσεχείς εκδηλώσεις

20-01-2021
EPRS online policy roundtable with the World Bank: Where next for the global economy
Άλλη δραστηριότητα -
EPRS
25-01-2021
Public Hearing on "Gender aspects of precarious work"
Ακρόαση -
FEMM
27-01-2021
Public hearing on AI and Green Deal
Ακρόαση -
AIDA

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