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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.

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.

Domestic Sexual Abuse of Girls

19-11-2018

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. The study provides a definition and conceptual model of domestic sexual abuse of girls, as well as analyses of prevalence and risk factors across the EU. It goes on to review policies and actions to address domestic sexual abuse of girls at the EU and Member State levels, and sets out case studies of four countries. It ends by providing recommendations ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. The study provides a definition and conceptual model of domestic sexual abuse of girls, as well as analyses of prevalence and risk factors across the EU. It goes on to review policies and actions to address domestic sexual abuse of girls at the EU and Member State levels, and sets out case studies of four countries. It ends by providing recommendations for Member States and EU institutions.

Ārējais autors

Katie MCCRACKEN, Dr Ana FITZSIMONS, Sergio MARQUEZ, Małgorzata DRUCIAREK (Opcit Research), Prof Michelle LEFEVRE (University of Sussex)

Human Rights in Cambodia

16-07-2018

Ravaged by genocide and armed conflict in the 1970s and 1980s, since 1985 Cambodia has been under the stable but repressive rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Nominally a multi-party democracy, the country has long been in effect a one-party state. Repression has intensified since the results of the 2013 election showed growing support for the opposition. With the next parliamentary election scheduled for July 2018, the government decided to ban the country's main opposition party, a move which drew ...

Ravaged by genocide and armed conflict in the 1970s and 1980s, since 1985 Cambodia has been under the stable but repressive rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Nominally a multi-party democracy, the country has long been in effect a one-party state. Repression has intensified since the results of the 2013 election showed growing support for the opposition. With the next parliamentary election scheduled for July 2018, the government decided to ban the country's main opposition party, a move which drew international condemnation.

Human rights in Thailand

04-07-2018

Thailand is one of several south-east Asian countries where the human rights situation has recently deteriorated. Following a military coup in May 2014, the junta clamped down on political dissent. In 2017 a new constitution restored some of the rights taken away in 2014, but the timing of elections remains uncertain and the military is likely to maintain political influence even after handing over power to a civilian government. Other long-standing concerns include abuses of migrant workers' labour ...

Thailand is one of several south-east Asian countries where the human rights situation has recently deteriorated. Following a military coup in May 2014, the junta clamped down on political dissent. In 2017 a new constitution restored some of the rights taken away in 2014, but the timing of elections remains uncertain and the military is likely to maintain political influence even after handing over power to a civilian government. Other long-standing concerns include abuses of migrant workers' labour rights and restrictions on freedom of expression.

Access to financial data by law enforcement authorities

25-06-2018

Groups committing serious crimes, including terrorists, often operate cross-border and their funds are usually located across the EU Member States or outside of the EU. The Commission proposal aims to improve the sharing financial information among national law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units to prevent and fight crime and terrorism. The impact assessment accompanying the proposal examined comprehensively the problems encountered by law enforcement authorities and financial ...

Groups committing serious crimes, including terrorists, often operate cross-border and their funds are usually located across the EU Member States or outside of the EU. The Commission proposal aims to improve the sharing financial information among national law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units to prevent and fight crime and terrorism. The impact assessment accompanying the proposal examined comprehensively the problems encountered by law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units, and made a real attempt to analyse the impacts of the proposed measures. A more thorough analysis of the safeguards on fundamental rights would have been useful. The Commission admits that the calculations of costs and benefits were limited due to a lack of data. Finally, the overall preferred option remains unclear.

Cross-Border Exchange and Comparison of Forensic DNA Data in the Context of the Prüm Decision

07-06-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides an overview of the Prüm regime. It first considers the background of the Prüm Convention and Prüm Decision. The subsequent two chapters summarize the Prüm regime in relation mainly to DNA data looking at value and shortcomings; and ethical, legal and social implications of forensic DNA typing and databasing in relation to the Prüm regime ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides an overview of the Prüm regime. It first considers the background of the Prüm Convention and Prüm Decision. The subsequent two chapters summarize the Prüm regime in relation mainly to DNA data looking at value and shortcomings; and ethical, legal and social implications of forensic DNA typing and databasing in relation to the Prüm regime. Finally, based on the analysis, it provides the policy recommendations.

Ārējais autors

Dr. Victor TOOM

2016 report on protection of the European Union's financial interests – fight against fraud

25-04-2018

In 2016, 19 080 irregularities affecting the EU budget were reported to the Commission, which is a decrease of 15 % in comparison to 2015. Furthermore, the value of irregularities decreased by 8 % from €3.21 billion in 2015 to €2.97 billion in 2016. Of the total, 1 410 fraudulent irregularities were reported, involving €391 million.

In 2016, 19 080 irregularities affecting the EU budget were reported to the Commission, which is a decrease of 15 % in comparison to 2015. Furthermore, the value of irregularities decreased by 8 % from €3.21 billion in 2015 to €2.97 billion in 2016. Of the total, 1 410 fraudulent irregularities were reported, involving €391 million.

Brexit Literature Update 01/2018

15-01-2018

Following a relevant request by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs has been compiling, on a regular basis, academic and scholarly material related to the process of, and the negotiations on, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Since the June 2016 referendum in the UK, Brexit-related literature has grown significantly and it is probably going to expand further in the future. Thus, this compilation is far from exhaustive; ...

Following a relevant request by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs has been compiling, on a regular basis, academic and scholarly material related to the process of, and the negotiations on, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Since the June 2016 referendum in the UK, Brexit-related literature has grown significantly and it is probably going to expand further in the future. Thus, this compilation is far from exhaustive; rather, it identifies some of the more useful articles, taking into account, in particular, the following elements: • Scholarly rather than a journalistic character of the publication • Originality and interest • Recent publication • Be of interest for the EU • Constitutional or institutional relevance.

Preliminary reference procedure

06-07-2017

The preliminary reference procedure, provided for in Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), is an institutionalised mechanism of dialogue between the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts. This dialogue serves three principal purposes. First of all, to provide national courts with assistance on questions regarding the interpretation of EU law. Secondly, to contribute to a uniform application of EU law across the Union. Thirdly, to create ...

The preliminary reference procedure, provided for in Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), is an institutionalised mechanism of dialogue between the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts. This dialogue serves three principal purposes. First of all, to provide national courts with assistance on questions regarding the interpretation of EU law. Secondly, to contribute to a uniform application of EU law across the Union. Thirdly, to create an additional mechanism – on top of the action for annulment of an EU act (set out in Article 263 TFEU) – for an ex post verification of the conformity of acts of the EU institutions with primary EU law (the Treaties and general principles of EU law). The scope of the preliminary reference procedure covers the entire body of EU law with the exclusion of acts under common foreign and security policy and certain limitations in the area of judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters. EU law does not have a doctrine of binding precedent such as that entertained in common law countries. Therefore, a judgment of the CJEU in a preliminary reference procedure is, strictly speaking, binding only on the national court that submitted the question, as well as on other courts in the same domestic procedure. Nonetheless, CJEU judgments interpreting EU law enjoy an authority similar to those of national supreme courts in civil law countries – national courts interpreting EU law should take them into account. Furthermore, if the CJEU decides that an act of the EU institutions is illegal, no national court may find to the contrary and consider that act legal. The decision whether to submit a preliminary reference to the CJEU rests with the national court concerned. However, if it is a court of last instance and a question of interpretation of EU law or the validity of an act of the EU institutions is necessary to decide a question before it, that court must submit a question. If it refrains from doing so, the Member State concerned may be held liable for a breach of EU law. This briefing is one in a series aimed at explaining the activities of the CJEU.

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