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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against terrorism

28-06-2019

Faced with a growing 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 growing 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 and is set to grow in the future, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security, such as Europol and eu-LISA. Financing for cooperation with third countries has also increased, including through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted since 2014 range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. To evaluate the efficiency of the existing tools and identify gaps and possible ways forward, the European Parliament set up a Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR), which delivered its report in November 2018. TERR made extensive recommendations for immediate or longer term actions aiming to prevent terrorism, combat its root causes, protect EU citizens and assist victims in the best possible way. In line with these recommendations, future EU counterterrorism action will most probably focus on addressing existing and new threats, countering radicalisation – including by preventing the spread of terrorist propaganda online – and enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure. Foreseeable developments also include increased information sharing, with planned interoperability between EU security- and border-related databases, as well as 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 is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Area of freedom, security and justice: Cost of Non-Europe

08-05-2019

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They ...

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They also have a negative effect on budgetary spending, growth and tax revenue, which is estimated at at least €180 billion annually, with the lack of enforcement of EU values still to be assessed in more detail. Further EU action in four main areas: 1. monitoring and enforcement; 2. the creation of safe legal pathways for migrants and asylum seekers to enter the EU; 3. ingraining a European law enforcement culture; and 4. completing the Union’s fundamental rights framework, would have significant benefits. In particular, it could allow individuals to fully enjoy their fundamental rights and make EU society more secure, open, fair and prosperous. This would also foster trust in the EU on the basis of its ability to deliver on its aims

The protection of fundamental rights in the EU: European Parliament achievements during the 2014-2019 legislative term and challenges for the future

17-04-2019

In the years between 2014 and 2019, the EU has faced serious challenges related to the protection of fundamental rights within its territory, notably in connection to the Rule of Law (RoL) and democracy in some EU Member States. The Commission and the European Parliament (EP), led by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), have addressed these challenges by activating - for the first time since its introduction in the Treaties - the procedure foreseen in art. 7.1 TEU, respectively ...

In the years between 2014 and 2019, the EU has faced serious challenges related to the protection of fundamental rights within its territory, notably in connection to the Rule of Law (RoL) and democracy in some EU Member States. The Commission and the European Parliament (EP), led by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), have addressed these challenges by activating - for the first time since its introduction in the Treaties - the procedure foreseen in art. 7.1 TEU, respectively against Poland and against Hungary. The EP has also consolidated its former requests under the proposal for an EU mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental rights (EU DRF Pact). Important legislative dossiers on procedural rights were approved (presumption of innocence, safeguards for children in criminal proceedings, legal aid). While the EP continued to report annually on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU and on traditional issues of interest (among which minorities, Roma, anti-Semitism, right-wing extremism, prisons, media freedom, as well as follow up activities on mass surveillance and CIA), it has also addressed new issues, such as protection of whistle-blowers (a Commission proposal was issued following insistence of the EP), islamophobia, afrophobia and fundamental rights of intersex persons. The EP has also adopted resolutions on the situation in specific Member States, such as Malta, Slovakia, Romania, expressing Rule of Law concerns. Among the challenges that remain open for the next term are the art. 7 TEU procedures against Hungary and Poland, the strengthening of the protection of art. 2 TEU values including through the promotion of the EU DRF Pact, the EU accession to the ECHR, the enhancement of the EU and EP monitoring mechanisms, the adoption of pending files, including the Rule of Law conditionality for EU funds, the Rights and Values and Justice programmes, the equal treatment directive, the reform of the transparency regulation and, in the longer term; the reform of the Treaties.

EU-Armenia people-to-people contacts

29-03-2019

EU-Armenia relations have recently been strengthened through the two parties' comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement (CEPA), applied provisionally since June 2018. This instrument, along with additional frameworks – an association agreement, the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership – promotes enhanced people-to-people contacts between the EU and Armenia.

EU-Armenia relations have recently been strengthened through the two parties' comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement (CEPA), applied provisionally since June 2018. This instrument, along with additional frameworks – an association agreement, the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership – promotes enhanced people-to-people contacts between the EU and Armenia.

Taiwan's political survival in a challenging geopolitical context

26-03-2019

Since the landmark victory of Tsai Ing-wen from Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2016 presidential elections, mainland China has intensified the island's international isolation and intimidation through political pressure, economic coercion and military drills. In a January 2019 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1979 'Message to Compatriots in Taiwan', China's President, Xi Jinping, alluded to the inevitability of unification based on a 'one country ...

Since the landmark victory of Tsai Ing-wen from Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2016 presidential elections, mainland China has intensified the island's international isolation and intimidation through political pressure, economic coercion and military drills. In a January 2019 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1979 'Message to Compatriots in Taiwan', China's President, Xi Jinping, alluded to the inevitability of unification based on a 'one country, two systems' formula, which is widely rejected in Taiwan. Taiwan's successful transition from an authoritarian anti-communist bulwark led by the Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT), to a liberal multi-party democracy that embraces individual political freedoms, the rule of law and universal human rights, is a challenge for the authoritarian one-party system of the People's Republic of China (PRC), as it belies mainland China's rhetoric that a liberal multi-party democracy is unsuitable for Chinese people. Taiwan's political survival within the fragile status quo of cross-strait relations ultimately depends on the United States' continued national interest in ensuring that Taiwan's defence capabilities and the US's military supremacy over the PRC act as a deterrent against a potential invasion of Taiwan by mainland China's military forces. Against the backdrop of the PRC's increasingly aggressive Taiwan policy and growing US-China strategic competition on multiple fronts, the US has expanded its long-standing commitments in support of Taiwan's defence and democracy, and considers the island as a partner in promoting the goals and values of the US's free and open Indo-Pacific strategy. The EU maintains a 'One China' policy, which recognises the PRC government as the sole legal government of China. However, since the EU and Taiwan are like-minded in many regards and the EU respects Taiwan's governance system, it is interested in closer cooperation with Taiwan on non-political issues, even in the absence of diplomatic recognition.

EU-Belarus people-to-people contacts

25-03-2019

The autocratic policies pursued by Belarus's long-standing president, Alexander Lukashenko, have strained EU-Belarus ties over the years. Against this backdrop, the EU has geared its support towards the Belarusian people at large. The crisis in Ukraine slowly rekindled EU-Belarus relations, but the backbone of cooperation remains civil society support and people-to-people contacts.

The autocratic policies pursued by Belarus's long-standing president, Alexander Lukashenko, have strained EU-Belarus ties over the years. Against this backdrop, the EU has geared its support towards the Belarusian people at large. The crisis in Ukraine slowly rekindled EU-Belarus relations, but the backbone of cooperation remains civil society support and people-to-people contacts.

EU-Azerbaijan people-to-people contacts

19-03-2019

The European Union and Azerbaijan are negotiating a comprehensive agreement in order to reinforce their partnership. Even if Azerbaijan is geographically the most distant Eastern Partnership country, the EU remains its main trading partner. In 2019, the EU and Azerbaijan will celebrate the 20th anniversary since their partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) entered into force in 1999. In recent years, EU support for civil society in Azerbaijan has been made more difficult by a new legal framework ...

The European Union and Azerbaijan are negotiating a comprehensive agreement in order to reinforce their partnership. Even if Azerbaijan is geographically the most distant Eastern Partnership country, the EU remains its main trading partner. In 2019, the EU and Azerbaijan will celebrate the 20th anniversary since their partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) entered into force in 1999. In recent years, EU support for civil society in Azerbaijan has been made more difficult by a new legal framework against foreign-funded NGOs.

The EU framework for enforcing the respect of the rule of law and the Union’s fundamental principles and values

25-01-2019

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, examines the EU founding values and principles set out in Article 2 TEU and the instruments at the EU’s disposal to uphold them, in particular Article 7 TEU and Article 258 TFEU, as well as the Rule of Law Framework launched by the European Commission. Focusing on rule of law, the study also examines how these instruments have been used, in ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, examines the EU founding values and principles set out in Article 2 TEU and the instruments at the EU’s disposal to uphold them, in particular Article 7 TEU and Article 258 TFEU, as well as the Rule of Law Framework launched by the European Commission. Focusing on rule of law, the study also examines how these instruments have been used, in particular in the cases of Poland and Hungary. The study also looks into the proposals put forward by the Parliament and the Commission and gives recommendations: it proposes, in particular, the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights by the EU as well as the introduction of economic conditionality into EU Cohesion Policy and its funds as a sanction mechanism.

Външен автор

Diego LÓPEZ GARRIDO, Antonio LÓPEZ CASTILLO

Supporting Holocaust survivors

24-01-2019

Between 1933 and 1945, millions of Europeans suffered from Nazi crimes and the Holocaust. Today, the remaining survivors often live in difficult social conditions.

Between 1933 and 1945, millions of Europeans suffered from Nazi crimes and the Holocaust. Today, the remaining survivors often live in difficult social conditions.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, January I 2019

18-01-2019

Highlights of the January I plenary session included the latest debate on the future of Europe, with Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Spain's prime minister, and a debate on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Members also debated the reform of EU asylum and migration policy, reviewed the Austrian Council Presidency and discussed the incoming Romanian Presidency's programme. Among the subjects debated and voted, Parliament adopted positions on 12 more of the three dozen funding programmes proposed for ...

Highlights of the January I plenary session included the latest debate on the future of Europe, with Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Spain's prime minister, and a debate on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Members also debated the reform of EU asylum and migration policy, reviewed the Austrian Council Presidency and discussed the incoming Romanian Presidency's programme. Among the subjects debated and voted, Parliament adopted positions on 12 more of the three dozen funding programmes proposed for the 2021-2027 period, enabling negotiations with the Council to be launched on each proposal as and when the latter has agreed its position.

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