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Modernisation of EU consumer protection rules: A new deal for consumers

15-04-2019

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. The proposal, which would amend four consumer protection directives, focuses on various consumer issues, including penalties for infringements, transparency on online marketplaces, protection for consumers of 'free' digital services, the right of withdrawal and dual quality of products. On 21 March 2019, Parliament and the Council reached provisional agreement on the proposal. The agreement rejects the proposed changes that would weaken the right of withdrawal. It bans several unfair commercial practices in all circumstances, and allows dual quality of products to be declared as misleading on a case-by-case basis. Parliament is expected to vote on the provisional agreement during the April II plenary session. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Fit for purpose? The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants: 2018 update

21-12-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, aims to update the 2016 study “Fit for purpose? The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants”. It takes stock of and examines the latest developments that have taken place since 2016, specifically the legislative and policy changes, along with various forms and cases of criminalisation of ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, aims to update the 2016 study “Fit for purpose? The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants”. It takes stock of and examines the latest developments that have taken place since 2016, specifically the legislative and policy changes, along with various forms and cases of criminalisation of humanitarian actors, migrants’ family members and basic service providers. The study uses the notion of ‘policing humanitarianism’ to describe not only cases of formal prosecution and sentencing in criminal justice procedures, but also wider dynamics of suspicion, intimidation, harassment and disciplining in five selected Member States – Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary and Italy. Policing humanitarianism negatively affects EU citizens’ rights – such as the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. When civil society is effectively (self-)silenced and its accountability role undermined, policies to combat migrant smuggling may be overused and give rise to serious breaches of the EU’s founding values, notably the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights. Moreover, policing humanitarianism negatively affects wider societal trust and diverts the limited resources of law enforcement from investigating more serious crimes.

Parlamendiväline autor

Sergio CARRERA (scientific coordinator), CEPS and the Migration Policy Centre – European University Institute Lina VOSYLIUTE, CEPS Stephanie SMIALOWSKI, CEPS Dr Jennifer ALLSOPP, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Migration Leadership Team, London International Development Centre, SOAS University of London Gabriella SANCHEZ, Migration Policy Centre – European University Institute

EU consumer protection rules

10-07-2018

The IA is aimed at underpinning new legislation in the field of consumer protection, as called for in various European Parliament resolutions. It represents a considerable body of work, based on extensive evaluation and consultation. Methodological weaknesses include the narrow range of options to calibrate the evaluation findings. Secondly, there are some presentation issues, which do not facilitate consideration of the Commission’s choices. For instance, the large space devoted to consultation ...

The IA is aimed at underpinning new legislation in the field of consumer protection, as called for in various European Parliament resolutions. It represents a considerable body of work, based on extensive evaluation and consultation. Methodological weaknesses include the narrow range of options to calibrate the evaluation findings. Secondly, there are some presentation issues, which do not facilitate consideration of the Commission’s choices. For instance, the large space devoted to consultation comes at the expense of useful and more sound information.

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.

Drugs package: Tackling new psychoactive substances

23-10-2017

Improving the EU's response to the rapid spread of new psychoactive substances has become urgent, and consequently Parliament is due to vote on a 'drugs package' during the October II plenary session. The package makes additions to the directive setting common minimum rules on criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking, as well as corresponding amendments to the founding regulation of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

Improving the EU's response to the rapid spread of new psychoactive substances has become urgent, and consequently Parliament is due to vote on a 'drugs package' during the October II plenary session. The package makes additions to the directive setting common minimum rules on criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking, as well as corresponding amendments to the founding regulation of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

Combatting migrant smuggling into the EU

23-04-2016

It is estimated that most of those who are currently entering the EU to seek asylum have had some help from smugglers in facilitating their journeys. Increased human smuggling in particular, when interlinked with criminal networks, poses serious threats to those smuggled as well as to EU Member States. The available evidence shows that there are considerable differences in how individual Member States tackle and penalise smuggling and that closer cooperation is needed to deal with this issue effectively ...

It is estimated that most of those who are currently entering the EU to seek asylum have had some help from smugglers in facilitating their journeys. Increased human smuggling in particular, when interlinked with criminal networks, poses serious threats to those smuggled as well as to EU Member States. The available evidence shows that there are considerable differences in how individual Member States tackle and penalise smuggling and that closer cooperation is needed to deal with this issue effectively. The existing discrepancies are partially linked to differences in the implementation of current European legislation, i.e. 'the facilitators package', which reacts to facilitation of the irregular entry, irregular transit and irregular stay of migrants into individual Member States. Furthermore, there are noticeable differences in national legislation with regard to whether providing humanitarian assistance to migrants is penalised or not. Smuggling is a complex issue and the modus operandi of smugglers is often very flexible and changes frequently. It is therefore important to tackle smuggling from a holistic perspective and also consider what unintended consequences may arise from policies intended to stop smuggling. Parliament has called for such an approach on several occasions. It is to be seen to what extent the European Commission evaluation of the respective European legislation and the potential legislative proposals will react to these challenges.  Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

'Foreign fighters' - Member States' responses and EU action in an international context

05-02-2015

As the hostilities in Syria and Iraq continue and terrorism activities worldwide seem to be on the rise, EU Member States are increasingly confronted with the problem of aspiring and returning 'foreign fighters'. Whereas the phenomenon is not new, its scale certainly is, which explains the wide perception of these individuals as a serious threat to the security of both individual Member States and the EU as a whole. The problem has been addressed within international fora including the United Nations ...

As the hostilities in Syria and Iraq continue and terrorism activities worldwide seem to be on the rise, EU Member States are increasingly confronted with the problem of aspiring and returning 'foreign fighters'. Whereas the phenomenon is not new, its scale certainly is, which explains the wide perception of these individuals as a serious threat to the security of both individual Member States and the EU as a whole. The problem has been addressed within international fora including the United Nations, which in 2014 adopted a binding resolution specifically addressing the issue of foreign fighters. The EU is actively engaged in relevant international initiatives. Within the EU, security in general and counter-terrorism in particular have traditionally remained in the Member States' remit. The EU has however coordinated Member States' activities regarding the prevention of radicalisation, the detection of suspicious travel, criminal justice response and cooperation with third countries. The EU is seeking to strengthen its role given the widely shared feeling of insecurity in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. Existing and new paths for EU action are being explored, including the revived EU passenger name records (PNR) proposal. Individual Member States have stepped up their efforts to address the problem using various kinds of tools including criminal law, administrative measures and 'soft tools', such as counter-radicalisation campaigns. The Member States most affected have also cooperated with each other outside the EU framework. The United States has a particularly developed counter-terrorism framework now being used to deal with foreign fighters. Since 9/11, the EU and the US have cooperated on counter-terrorism despite different philosophies on issues such as data protection.

Customs Infringements and Sanctions: Initial Appraisal of the Commission's Impact Assessment

15-07-2014

This briefing seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions (COM (2013) 0884), submitted to the Parliament in December 2013. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposals and is drafted for informational and background purposes to assist the IMCO committee ...

This briefing seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions (COM (2013) 0884), submitted to the Parliament in December 2013. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposals and is drafted for informational and background purposes to assist the IMCO committee and its Members in their work.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing: Sanctions in the EU

15-07-2014

This briefing note presents an overview of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and sanctions in the European Union. It provides information on the different approaches for addressing serious infringements in different Member States, as well as an analysis of existing EU and international measures. The study identifies differences between levels of monitoring, control and surveillance in Member States. Also differences are observed between Member States in the following-up of serious infringements ...

This briefing note presents an overview of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and sanctions in the European Union. It provides information on the different approaches for addressing serious infringements in different Member States, as well as an analysis of existing EU and international measures. The study identifies differences between levels of monitoring, control and surveillance in Member States. Also differences are observed between Member States in the following-up of serious infringements and sanctions imposed. The study recommends that Member States prioritise effective enforcement of IUU rules and promote harmonisation of penalties.

Parlamendiväline autor

Mike Beke and Roland Blomeyer (Blomeyer & Sanz)

Corruption in Russia

12-03-2014

Corruption in Russia is deeply entrenched and permeates all levels of Russian society. It causes significant financial loss to the Russian economy in terms of gross domestic product and considerably lowers the country's attractiveness as a foreign direct investment destination. Despite a recent positive trend Russia continues to lag far behind its G8 and G20 peers in the rankings.

Corruption in Russia is deeply entrenched and permeates all levels of Russian society. It causes significant financial loss to the Russian economy in terms of gross domestic product and considerably lowers the country's attractiveness as a foreign direct investment destination. Despite a recent positive trend Russia continues to lag far behind its G8 and G20 peers in the rankings.

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