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Understanding EU data protection policy

20-05-2020

The near-ubiquity of data in the lives of ordinary people, along with its exponential growth in generation rate and potential misuse, has made the protection of personal information an increasingly important social, legal and political matter for the EU. In recent years, both awareness of data rights and expectations for EU action in this area have grown considerably. The right to privacy and the right to protection of personal data are both enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU ...

The near-ubiquity of data in the lives of ordinary people, along with its exponential growth in generation rate and potential misuse, has made the protection of personal information an increasingly important social, legal and political matter for the EU. In recent years, both awareness of data rights and expectations for EU action in this area have grown considerably. The right to privacy and the right to protection of personal data are both enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and the EU Treaties. The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 gave the Charter the same legal value as the Treaties and abolished the pillar structure, providing a stronger basis for a more effective and comprehensive data protection regime in the EU. In 2012, the European Commission launched an ambitious reform to modernise the EU data protection framework. It resulted in the adoption in 2016 of the main EU data protection legislative instrument – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – and the Law Enforcement Directive. The framework overhaul also included adopting an updated Regulation on Data Processing in the EU Institutions and reforming the ePrivacy Directive, pending in the Council since September 2017. The European Parliament has played a major role in passing these reforms, both as co-legislator and author of own-initiative reports and resolutions seeking to guarantee a high level of data protection to EU citizens. Last but not least, the European Court of Justice has also played an important part in building the EU data protection framework, with several landmark judgments delivered in recent years. In the coming years, potential challenges to the data protection framework include the question of how to adapt the GDPR to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, facial recognition technology and the Internet of Things. Potential fragmentation issues include differing Member State interpretations of consent for data processing, while compliance burdens for SMEs and insufficient resources for data protection authorities may present challenges for enforcement. The European Commission is expected to address these issues in its upcoming evaluation of the GDPR.

The rights of LGBTI people in the European Union

18-05-2020

The prohibition of discrimination and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people persists throughout the EU and takes various forms, including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as grounds of discrimination. However, the scope of the provisions dealing with this issue is limited and does not cover social protection, ...

The prohibition of discrimination and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people persists throughout the EU and takes various forms, including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised in EU law as grounds of discrimination. However, the scope of the provisions dealing with this issue is limited and does not cover social protection, healthcare, education or access to goods and services, leaving LGBTI people particularly vulnerable in these areas. Moreover, EU competence does not extend to recognition of marital or family status. In this area, national regulations vary, with some Member States offering same-sex couples the right to marry, others allowing alternative forms of registration, and yet others not providing any legal status for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples may or may not have the right to adopt children and to access assisted reproduction. These divergent legal statuses have implications, for instance, for partners from two Member States with different standards who want to formalise/legalise their relationship, or for same-sex couples and their families wishing to move to another Member State. Combating discrimination has become part of EU internal and external policies, and is the subject of numerous resolutions of the European Parliament. However, action in this area remains problematic when it touches on issues pertaining to areas traditionally the preserve of Member States, such as marital status and family law. This is a further updated version of a briefing originally drafted by Piotr Bakowski. The previous edition was published in May 2019.

Unaccompanied migrant children in Greece: New relocation scheme

15-05-2020

In response to increased migratory pressure in Greece along the EU's external border with Turkey in recent months, and following the Greek government's request for support under Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Commission has launched a new relocation scheme to speed up the relocation of unaccompanied minors from the Greek islands to other EU Member States. Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who has been entrusted with taking this ...

In response to increased migratory pressure in Greece along the EU's external border with Turkey in recent months, and following the Greek government's request for support under Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Commission has launched a new relocation scheme to speed up the relocation of unaccompanied minors from the Greek islands to other EU Member States. Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who has been entrusted with taking this process forward, will also work in coordination with the Greek government and stakeholders to find sustainable ways to ensure that unaccompanied minors staying in the first-line reception and identification centres ('hotspots') on the Greek islands receive the care and protection they are entitled to. Regardless of a child's reasons for migrating, their situation or status, they all are first and foremost children and have rights as such. Unaccompanied children or children who have been separated from their parents along the way, are, moreover, entitled to special protection under international human rights and European Union asylum law. All too often, however, their rights and needs are neglected. Human rights organisations have repeatedly denounced the precarious and difficult conditions in which unaccompanied minors are living in the Greek hotspots. The proposed relocation initiative is urgently needed. However, the ongoing political and academic debate also shows a clear need for more structural solutions, in the form of more solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States, and a coordinated, child rights-based approach to addressing the many protection gaps unaccompanied children face when arriving in Europe.

Strengthening the Fundamental Rights Agency - The Revision of the Fundamental Rights Agency Regulation

15-05-2020

Since it was set up in 2007, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has demonstrated its ability produce high-quality research, and to provide the EU institutions and the EU Member States implementing Union law with expert advice on fundamental rights issues. The regulatory framework under which the Agency operates, however, is not fully appropriate to discharge its mandate effectively. This in-depth study commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional ...

Since it was set up in 2007, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has demonstrated its ability produce high-quality research, and to provide the EU institutions and the EU Member States implementing Union law with expert advice on fundamental rights issues. The regulatory framework under which the Agency operates, however, is not fully appropriate to discharge its mandate effectively. This in-depth study commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs identifies how it could be improved.

Autor externo

Professor Olivier DE SCHUTTER

Coronavirus and the cost of non-Europe: An analysis of the economic benefits of common European action

11-05-2020

This EPRS paper focuses on the economic benefits of common action at European level and the risk involved if the current coronavirus crisis and its aftermath were to stall or reverse the process of European integration. It attempts to quantify the losses from: (i) any gradual dismantling of the EU project - where cautious estimates suggest that erosion of the EU single market alone would cost the European economy between 3.0 and 8.7 per cent of its collective GDP (this would be existing 'European ...

This EPRS paper focuses on the economic benefits of common action at European level and the risk involved if the current coronavirus crisis and its aftermath were to stall or reverse the process of European integration. It attempts to quantify the losses from: (i) any gradual dismantling of the EU project - where cautious estimates suggest that erosion of the EU single market alone would cost the European economy between 3.0 and 8.7 per cent of its collective GDP (this would be existing 'European added value' permanently lost); and (ii) a parallel failure to take advantage of the unexploited potential of collective public goods that have yet be achieved (this would be future GDP growth foregone). The latter 'cost of non-Europe' in 50 policy areas was identified by EPRS in 2019 as around 14 per cent of EU GDP by the end of a ten-year running-in period.

Recent migration flows to the EU

29-04-2020

This infographic aims to present the latest available data on migrant flows to the EU in the year 2019. It covers the detection of illegal crossings on the EU's external borders, numbers of deaths of migrants on those crossings, the number of asylum applications in EU Member States and their decisions on those applications. This Infographic updates and complements previous editions issued in September 2015 (PE 565.905), in April 2016 (PE 580.893), in February 2017 (PE 595.918), in December 2017 ( ...

This infographic aims to present the latest available data on migrant flows to the EU in the year 2019. It covers the detection of illegal crossings on the EU's external borders, numbers of deaths of migrants on those crossings, the number of asylum applications in EU Member States and their decisions on those applications. This Infographic updates and complements previous editions issued in September 2015 (PE 565.905), in April 2016 (PE 580.893), in February 2017 (PE 595.918), in December 2017 (PE 614.604) and in May 2018 (PE 621.862).

The impact of coronavirus on Schengen borders

27-04-2020

The 26 countries of the Schengen Area are only meant to reintroduce border controls between themselves in specific circumstances, and for strictly limited periods of time. In recent weeks, many of the Schengen states have reintroduced border controls, notifying them to the European Commission on the grounds of an immediate threat to public policy as a result of the spread of coronavirus. This infographic shows the latest situation in respect of border controls put in place at internal borders within ...

The 26 countries of the Schengen Area are only meant to reintroduce border controls between themselves in specific circumstances, and for strictly limited periods of time. In recent weeks, many of the Schengen states have reintroduced border controls, notifying them to the European Commission on the grounds of an immediate threat to public policy as a result of the spread of coronavirus. This infographic shows the latest situation in respect of border controls put in place at internal borders within the Schengen Area. This is an update of a briefing published in March 2020.

European added value of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights - Preliminary assessment

23-04-2020

This preliminary European Added Value Assessment provides a comparison of the main features of the methodologies proposed by the European Parliament and the Commission on monitoring compliance with EU values. It reveals that though the Commission has made a significant step towards Parliament's position, four key differences in their approach remain. These notably relate to what is assessed, by whom and which follow-up is to be provided. The Parliament calls for an interinstitutional agreement in ...

This preliminary European Added Value Assessment provides a comparison of the main features of the methodologies proposed by the European Parliament and the Commission on monitoring compliance with EU values. It reveals that though the Commission has made a significant step towards Parliament's position, four key differences in their approach remain. These notably relate to what is assessed, by whom and which follow-up is to be provided. The Parliament calls for an interinstitutional agreement in accordance with which a Panel of Independent Experts should assess the state of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the Member States. Based on this Report the Parliament and national parliaments as well the Council should be able to recommend follow up action to the Commission in terms of monitoring and enforcement. The Commission takes a more limited analysis of the rule of law into its own hands, relying on a network of Member State contact points. In view of its prerogatives, the Commission does not wish to be bound to a certain follow up.

The Impact of Covid-19 Measures on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights in the EU

23-04-2020

This Briefing was prepared by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs upon request of the LIBE committee Monitoring Group on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights. It focuses on the measures adopted by EU Member States to fight Covid-19 and their impact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU. The Policy Department has monitored such measures and examined their impact in relation to: state of emergency and exceptional powers, the functioning ...

This Briefing was prepared by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs upon request of the LIBE committee Monitoring Group on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights. It focuses on the measures adopted by EU Member States to fight Covid-19 and their impact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU. The Policy Department has monitored such measures and examined their impact in relation to: state of emergency and exceptional powers, the functioning of national parliaments and of the judiciary; freedom of movement; freedom of expression and of the media; freedom of assembly; privacy and data protection; asylum; prisons; discrimination and vulnerable groups; other issues of relevance for Art. 2 TEU. The monitoring exercise reveals a series of areas of possible concern for the EU and the European Parliament. This exercise is notably useful in preparation of the first annual inter-institutional monitoring exercise in the framework of the new European mechanism on the Rule of Law.

Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020: European Implementation Assessment

23-04-2020

This study provides a review of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) up to 2020. It was produced at the request of the Committee for Civil Liberties. Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) to feed into the discussions regarding the post-2020 Framework. The study provides a synthesis of evaluations and opinions of the Framework. It gives an appreciation of the coordination, consultation and monitoring structures and the ...

This study provides a review of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) up to 2020. It was produced at the request of the Committee for Civil Liberties. Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) to feed into the discussions regarding the post-2020 Framework. The study provides a synthesis of evaluations and opinions of the Framework. It gives an appreciation of the coordination, consultation and monitoring structures and the way they work out in practice. It also looks at the interplay with other EU legal, funding and policy instruments. It then reviews the main policy objectives, namely (Roma access to) education, employment, health, housing, as well as anti-discrimination and anti-gypsyism.

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11-06-2020
CONT Public Hearing: Implementation of EU funds
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CONT
11-06-2020
STOA Roundtable on Digital Sovereign Identity
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15-06-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | A Certain Idea of France: The life of Charles de Gaulle
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EPRS

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