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The European Union and Holocaust remembrance

23-01-2020

The term Holocaust refers to the mass murder of 6 million European Jews, Roma and other persecuted groups, whom the Nazi regime and its collaborators sought to annihilate. The expropriation, state-sponsored discrimination and persecution of the Jews by the Nazi regime began in 1933, followed by pogroms and their mass incarceration in concentration camps. Ultimately, this policy was extended to all Nazi-controlled European territories and countries during World War II, culminating in mass summary ...

The term Holocaust refers to the mass murder of 6 million European Jews, Roma and other persecuted groups, whom the Nazi regime and its collaborators sought to annihilate. The expropriation, state-sponsored discrimination and persecution of the Jews by the Nazi regime began in 1933, followed by pogroms and their mass incarceration in concentration camps. Ultimately, this policy was extended to all Nazi-controlled European territories and countries during World War II, culminating in mass summary executions ('Holocaust by Bullets') and extermination in death camps. The perpetrators were prosecuted at the Nuremberg trials in 1945-1946; however, the tribunal preferred to indict them on charges of crimes against humanity rather than genocide. It was not until 2005, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz that a United Nations resolution designated 27 January the day for international commemoration of the Holocaust, to be known as 'International Holocaust Remembrance Day'. In the European Union, numerous programmes seek to preserve the memory of these tragic events in the history of the continent. Since 1995, the European Parliament has adopted resolutions drawing attention to the obligation to remember not only through commemorations but also through education. In November 2018, the EU became a permanent international partner of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This is a further updated version of a briefing from January 2018.

Acceptance of electronic freight transport information

17-01-2019

In freight transport, handling of paper documents creates administrative burden and inefficiency to transport logistics chains. The use of electronic documents in this respect would improve the efficiency of transport, especially in multimodal and cross-border transport, and facilitate the functioning of the single market. The IA accompanying the Commission’s legislative proposal, which aims to foster the electronic exchange of documents and information, provides a good presentation of the problems ...

In freight transport, handling of paper documents creates administrative burden and inefficiency to transport logistics chains. The use of electronic documents in this respect would improve the efficiency of transport, especially in multimodal and cross-border transport, and facilitate the functioning of the single market. The IA accompanying the Commission’s legislative proposal, which aims to foster the electronic exchange of documents and information, provides a good presentation of the problems, objectives and policy options. It appears that the stakeholders’ views have been taken into account when making a choice of the preferred option. On the other hand, the IA could have explained estimated impacts of the initiative in more depth, in particular concerning the expected social and environmental impacts.

Religion and human rights

21-11-2018

Although on the EU agenda for decades, recent events, such as the migration crisis and the issues with the rule of law in some Member States, have brought the issue of values back into focus. EU values are those of equality, freedom and respect for human rights. Freedom of religion and belief has significant protections in the EU and under the international legal framework. Religion, represented by churches, religious communities and other actors, is also a significant factor in the protection and ...

Although on the EU agenda for decades, recent events, such as the migration crisis and the issues with the rule of law in some Member States, have brought the issue of values back into focus. EU values are those of equality, freedom and respect for human rights. Freedom of religion and belief has significant protections in the EU and under the international legal framework. Religion, represented by churches, religious communities and other actors, is also a significant factor in the protection and promotion of human rights, both in the world and in the European Union. International human rights bodies have even formalised the participation of religious actors, mostly through exchanges and dialogues, and the European Union is no exception. Its Article 17 Dialogue with churches, religious, philosophical and non-confessional organisations offers an opportunity for those groups to make their voices heard at EU level. Religious actors have made significant contributions in, for example, migration, deradicalisation, social justice and education for tolerance. However, the role of religion in the human rights arena is sometimes perceived as challenging, since some religious actors and some secular human rights actors may not see eye-to-eye in some areas. Experts therefore suggest that it is important to maintain that all human rights have equal worth, that everyone who may be affected by the issue is included in the dialogue, and to try to find a compromise that will not alienate any party from further cooperation.

Women in the Western Balkans: Gender equality in the EU accession process

18-07-2018

Equality between women and men, or gender equality, is a fundamental right and a common value, recognised by the EU. It has been a component of the European integration project from its outset. Enshrined in the EU Treaties, gender equality forms part of the accession conditions with which candidate and potential candidates from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) have to comply. Investing in gender equality ...

Equality between women and men, or gender equality, is a fundamental right and a common value, recognised by the EU. It has been a component of the European integration project from its outset. Enshrined in the EU Treaties, gender equality forms part of the accession conditions with which candidate and potential candidates from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) have to comply. Investing in gender equality, however, is essential not only as an EU requirement, but for an equal society. Although progress has been noted in these countries as regards gender equality, more work is still required. Equal opportunities would allow EU candidate countries to better tap into the potential and skills of women, and underpin achievements in areas such as economic growth, employment and social cohesion, as well as in peace-building. As part of their preparation for an EU future, the Western Balkan countries have taken steps to advance women's rights in recent years. These include adopting or amending relevant legislation (e.g. criminal and labour laws), elaborating national strategies and action plans, and establishing institutional mechanisms to carry out and monitor relevant policies. Nevertheless, promoting gender equality is often sidelined, and the action taken in this respect is insufficient. Ensuring equality between women and men remains 'unfinished business' in a region where traditional gender roles are deep-rooted and social attitudes and lack of awareness of women's rights are at the core of the problem. This Briefing aims to highlight the EU's efforts to promote gender equality as part of EU enlargement policy, and the way the EU strives to mainstream equality across the board. It also aims to cast light on some major challenges that women face in the Western Balkans, such as their weaker roles in economy and politics, and widespread gender-based violence. This follows up the June 2017 briefing on 'Rights and empowerment of women in the Western Balkans'.

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.

Autor extern

Dr. Victor TOOM

Human rights in EU trade policy: Unilateral measures applied by the EU

30-05-2018

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic ...

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic violations of core human rights or labour rights norms. A special incentive arrangement under the GSP grants further tariff concessions to countries that ratify and implement a series of international conventions. Based on systematic monitoring by the European Commission, this special scheme is the most comprehensive and detailed human rights mechanism established in the framework of the common commercial policy. While the scheme has been particularly effective in encouraging beneficiary countries to make the necessary legislative and institutional changes, such progress has not been matched at the level of implementation. Suspension of preferences under GSP has been applied in only a few cases and, when it was, did not have an immediate and clear impact on the human rights situation. In practice, the EU has privileged a strategy of incentivising gradual progress through dialogue and monitoring, rather than withdrawing preferences. The EU's unilateral trade measures to protect human rights are not limited to the GSP. The EU has taken steps to prohibit or limit trade in items that could cause human rights violations, such as torture and execution equipment, and dual use goods. New legislation has recently been adopted on conflict minerals, and the European Parliament has called for a proposal for legislation to ban the import of goods produced using child labour. This is an updated edition of a briefing published in January 2017: PE 595.878.

Post-2020 reform of the EU Emissions Trading System

28-05-2018

In July 2015, the European Commission proposed a reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for the 2021-2030 period, following the guidance set by the October 2014 European Council meeting. The proposed directive introduces a new limit on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the ETS sector to achieve the EU climate targets for 2030, new rules for addressing carbon leakage, and provisions for funding innovation and modernisation in the energy sector. It encourages Member States to compensate for ...

In July 2015, the European Commission proposed a reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for the 2021-2030 period, following the guidance set by the October 2014 European Council meeting. The proposed directive introduces a new limit on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the ETS sector to achieve the EU climate targets for 2030, new rules for addressing carbon leakage, and provisions for funding innovation and modernisation in the energy sector. It encourages Member States to compensate for indirect carbon costs. In combination with the Market Stability Reserve agreed in May 2015, the proposed reform sets out the EU ETS rules for the period until 2030, giving greater certainty to both industry and investors. In the European Parliament, the ENVI Committee took the lead on the proposal, while it shared competence with the ITRE Committee on some aspects. The European Parliament and the Council adopted their respective positions in February 2017, and interinstitutional trilogue negotiations were concluded in November 2017. After its adoption by Council and Parliament, the Directive entered into force on 8 April 2018.

THE HAGUE CONFERENCE ON PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW “JUDGMENTS CONVENTION”

16-04-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee, provides an assessment of the ongoing work of the Hague Conference on the Judgments Convention. The analysis focuses on the November 2017 Draft Convention, its interplay with international and Union instruments in the field, as well as its potential future impact on the regulation of civil and commercial cross-border disputes.

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee, provides an assessment of the ongoing work of the Hague Conference on the Judgments Convention. The analysis focuses on the November 2017 Draft Convention, its interplay with international and Union instruments in the field, as well as its potential future impact on the regulation of civil and commercial cross-border disputes.

Autor extern

Pedro A. DE MIGUEL ASENSIO (coord.), Professor, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain Gilles CUNIBERTI, Professor, University of Luxembourg Pietro FRANZINA, Professor, University of Ferrara, Italy Christian HEINZE, Professor, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany Marta REQUEJO ISIDRO, Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, March 2018

16-03-2018

Highlights of the session included a debate on the future of Europe with Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa; and debates on preparation of the 22-23 March European Council meeting; on the appointment of the European Commission Secretary-General; on the US decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium; on corporate social responsibility; on conflict minerals; and on protection of investigative journalists, following the deaths of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in Slovakia. High Representative ...

Highlights of the session included a debate on the future of Europe with Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa; and debates on preparation of the 22-23 March European Council meeting; on the appointment of the European Commission Secretary-General; on the US decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium; on corporate social responsibility; on conflict minerals; and on protection of investigative journalists, following the deaths of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in Slovakia. High Representative, Federica Mogherini, made statements on Syria, the EU-Cuba Joint Council, and EU-Central Asia relations, followed by debates. Parliament adopted, inter alia, resolutions on the post-2020 future multiannual financial framework and own-resources reform; and legislative positions on the common (consolidated) corporate tax; regulation of cross-border parcel delivery; training of professional drivers; and Europass.

Multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes

24-11-2017

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the above recommendation, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament’s Committee on International Trade. The recommendation aims to pave the way for the creation of a framework for the resolution of international investment disputes. The IA notes that foreign investors and host countries have settled their investment disputes through the Investor-State ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the above recommendation, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament’s Committee on International Trade. The recommendation aims to pave the way for the creation of a framework for the resolution of international investment disputes. The IA notes that foreign investors and host countries have settled their investment disputes through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS, ad hoc arbitration) since the 1950s. In recent years, concerns have been voiced about the ISDS, in particular in the context of the negotiation processes of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (EU-USA) and of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) (EU-Canada). Based on the results of the public consultation carried out in 2014, the European Commission presented a plan in May 2015 to reform the investment resolution system. It comprises, as a first step, an institutionalised court system (Investment Court System, ICS) for future EU trade and investment agreements and, as a second step, the establishment of an ‘international investment Court’. According to the IA report, ‘since 2016 the Commission has actively engaged with a large number of partner countries both at a technical and political level to further the reform of the ISDS system and to build a consensus for the initiative of a permanent multilateral investment Court’ (IA, p. 6). In its resolutions of 8 July 2015 on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and of 6 April 2011 on the future European international investment policy, Parliament noted the need to reform the investment dispute settlement mechanism. In its resolution of 5 July 2016 on the future strategy for trade and investment, it supported the aim of creating a ‘multilateral solution to investment disputes’.

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