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Plenary round-up – February 2021

12-02-2021

The main debates held during the February 2021 plenary session concerned the state of play of the EU's Covid 19 vaccination strategy and the de facto abortion ban in Poland. Members also debated democratic scrutiny of social media platforms and the protection of fundamental rights, including the challenges ahead for women's rights more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action The impact of coronavirus on young people and sport, relief measures for the transport sector, ...

The main debates held during the February 2021 plenary session concerned the state of play of the EU's Covid 19 vaccination strategy and the de facto abortion ban in Poland. Members also debated democratic scrutiny of social media platforms and the protection of fundamental rights, including the challenges ahead for women's rights more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action The impact of coronavirus on young people and sport, relief measures for the transport sector, homologation and distribution of transparent masks and the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia were also discussed. Members debated statements by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borell, on his visit to Russia in the light of the recent crackdown on protestors and the opposition, on the humanitarian and political situation in Yemen, and on the situation in Myanmar.

Implementing the Anti-trafficking Directive

04-02-2021

Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims is the main EU legislative tool addressing this phenomenon. It had to be transposed into national law by 2013. However, certain obstacles to full implementation remain almost ten years after its adoption. At the February plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate an own-initiative report assessing the directive's effectiveness.

Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims is the main EU legislative tool addressing this phenomenon. It had to be transposed into national law by 2013. However, certain obstacles to full implementation remain almost ten years after its adoption. At the February plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate an own-initiative report assessing the directive's effectiveness.

Understanding EU action against migrant smuggling

19-01-2021

Around 90 % of those who cross the external European Union (EU) borders illegally do so with the assistance of migrant smugglers. Furthermore, the facilitation of irregular migration is a highly profitable criminal activity, in particular when compared with the relatively low risks incurred. Even though detections of illegal border crossings are currently at their lowest level since 2013, the migrant smuggling business shows sustained high levels of demand. This demand is not only due to the fact ...

Around 90 % of those who cross the external European Union (EU) borders illegally do so with the assistance of migrant smugglers. Furthermore, the facilitation of irregular migration is a highly profitable criminal activity, in particular when compared with the relatively low risks incurred. Even though detections of illegal border crossings are currently at their lowest level since 2013, the migrant smuggling business shows sustained high levels of demand. This demand is not only due to the fact that people in severe distress – whether for economic reasons or because of a genuine fear for their lives – keep trying to reach the EU, by irregular means if necessary. Demand is also high because illegally crossing borders has become harder, due to increased external border controls and other measures put in place to prevent irregular migration. This is where migrant smuggling networks step in. Migrant smugglers are among some of the most agile criminals. They go to great lengths in order not to get caught, quickly adapting the routes they use to smuggle migrants into the EU and their means of travel. They avoid direct contact with their victims, instead using the latest digital communication technologies and involving different intermediaries along a migrant's journey. The facilitation of irregular migration is a complex crime, interconnected with many other criminal activities, such as document fraud, trafficking in human beings or other types of illicit smuggling. Although people willingly pay smugglers to help them cross borders, they do so at great personal risk. Too many lose their lives, or are at risk of serious harm or exploitation. Therefore, preventing and combatting migrant smuggling and related crimes is one of the key priorities of the EU's action against irregular migration and organised crime. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for more and better operational cooperation, data sharing and legal migration channels, and insisted on better implementation of relevant EU legislation.

Implementation of Directive 2011/36/EU: Migration and gender issues

15-09-2020

Directive 2011/36/EU (Anti-Trafficking Directive) is the benchmark legislation on the fight against human trafficking at European level. The aim of this European implementation assessment is to gather evidence on the progress and challenges that occur in the implementation of the directive in the Member States, with a double focus: the migratory context and gender issues. Almost 10 years after its adoption, the Anti-Trafficking Directive remains a valuable tool in combating trafficking in human beings ...

Directive 2011/36/EU (Anti-Trafficking Directive) is the benchmark legislation on the fight against human trafficking at European level. The aim of this European implementation assessment is to gather evidence on the progress and challenges that occur in the implementation of the directive in the Member States, with a double focus: the migratory context and gender issues. Almost 10 years after its adoption, the Anti-Trafficking Directive remains a valuable tool in combating trafficking in human beings in the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, the evaluation points out the need to continue efforts to ensure the application of its provisions in all the directive's main aspects. The persisting grey areas and obstacles are significant enough to put the full achievement of the directive's objectives at risk.

Understanding the EU response to organised crime

31-08-2020

The EU has made substantial progress in terms of protecting its citizens since the early 1990s, often in response to dramatic incidents, such as mafia or other organised crime group murders, big money-laundering scandals, a steep increase in migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings following the 2015 migration crisis, or – more recently – a sharp rise in cybercrime, fraud and counterfeiting during the coronavirus pandemic. Criminal organisations continue to pose big risks to the internal ...

The EU has made substantial progress in terms of protecting its citizens since the early 1990s, often in response to dramatic incidents, such as mafia or other organised crime group murders, big money-laundering scandals, a steep increase in migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings following the 2015 migration crisis, or – more recently – a sharp rise in cybercrime, fraud and counterfeiting during the coronavirus pandemic. Criminal organisations continue to pose big risks to the internal security of the EU. A rising number of organised crime groups are active in its territory, often with cross-border reach. Organised crime is furthermore an increasingly dynamic and complex phenomenon, with new criminal markets and modi operandi emerging under the influence of globalisation and – in particular – new technologies. While the impact of serious and organised crime on the EU economy is considerable, there are also significant political and social costs, as well as negative effects on the wellbeing of EU citizens. As organised crime has become more interconnected, international and digital, Member States – which remain responsible for operational activities in the area of police and judicial cooperation – increasingly rely on cross-border and EU-level cooperation to support their law enforcement authorities on the ground. Recognising the severity of the problem and the need for coordinated action, the EU has initiated several measures to encourage closer cooperation between Member States and adopted common legal, judicial and investigative frameworks to address organised crime. Parliament has made fighting organised crime a political priority and has helped shape the relevant EU legislation. Future EU action will focus on implementing existing rules, improving operational cooperation – even beyond the EU’s boundaries – and information-sharing, as well as addressing some of the main criminal activities of organised crime groups. Furthermore, the EU aims to make sure that crime does not pay.

Commitments made at the hearing of Ylva JOHANSSON, Commissioner-designate - Home Affairs

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Ylva Johansson, appeared before the European Parliament on 01 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: General approach, Common European values, A fresh start on migration and Internal security.

The commissioner-designate, Ylva Johansson, appeared before the European Parliament on 01 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: General approach, Common European values, A fresh start on migration and Internal security.

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.

Police cooperation achievements during the legislative term 2014-2019: the role of the European Parliament

13-05-2019

Effective police cooperation is a key step in turning the EU into an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) based on respect for fundamental rights. Cross-border law enforcement cooperation – involving the police, customs and other law enforcement services – is designed to prevent, detect and investigate criminal offences across the EU. In practice, this cooperation mainly concerns serious crime (organised crime, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and cybercrime) and terrorism. Considerable ...

Effective police cooperation is a key step in turning the EU into an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) based on respect for fundamental rights. Cross-border law enforcement cooperation – involving the police, customs and other law enforcement services – is designed to prevent, detect and investigate criminal offences across the EU. In practice, this cooperation mainly concerns serious crime (organised crime, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and cybercrime) and terrorism. Considerable progress in strengthening police cooperation was made during the 2014-2019 legislative term. Most importantly, the new Europol Regulation took effect in May 2017. In Parliament, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) is responsible for measures relating to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, including terrorism, and substantive and procedural measures relating to the development of a more coherent EU approach to criminal law, in accordance with Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The migration issue

27-02-2019

Refugee movements and migration are at the centre of global attention. In recent years, Europe has had to respond to the most severe migratory challenge since the end of the Second World War. 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 asylum, external borders and migration. In response to these challenges, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at rebuilding its asylum ...

Refugee movements and migration are at the centre of global attention. In recent years, Europe has had to respond to the most severe migratory challenge since the end of the Second World War. 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 asylum, external borders and migration. In response to these challenges, the EU has embarked on a broader process of reform aimed at rebuilding its asylum and migration policies based on four pillars: reducing the incentives for irregular migration by addressing its root causes, improving returns and dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks; saving lives and securing the external borders; establishing a strong EU asylum policy, and providing more legal pathways for asylum-seekers and more efficient legal channels for regular migrants. The record migratory flows to the EU witnessed during 2015 and 2016 had subsided by the end of 2017 and 2018. However, in order to deliver what the Commission calls an effective, fair and robust future EU migration policy, the EU, based on the Treaties and other legal and financial instruments, has been implementing both immediate and longer-term measures. Europe, due to its geographic position and its reputation as an example of stability, generosity and openness against a background of growing international and internal conflicts, climate change and global poverty, is likely to continue to represent an ideal refuge for asylum-seekers and migrants. This is also reflected in the growing amounts, flexibility and diversity of EU funding for migration and asylum policies inside as well as outside the current and future EU budget. See also the parallel Briefing on 'EU support for democracy and peace in the world', PE 628.271.

Victims of trafficking in hotspots

21-02-2019

This briefing looks at the risks of exploitation faced by people leaving their countries in search of safety or better lives and arriving in Europe by sea. It gives an overview of the processes related to early identification of victims of trafficking in first reception facilities (hotspots) and the related challenges.

This briefing looks at the risks of exploitation faced by people leaving their countries in search of safety or better lives and arriving in Europe by sea. It gives an overview of the processes related to early identification of victims of trafficking in first reception facilities (hotspots) and the related challenges.

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