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Use of financial data for preventing and combatting serious crime

19-07-2019

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The ...

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The proposal also aims to strengthen domestic and cross-border exchange of information between EU Member States' competent authorities, including law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units, as well as with Europol. The provisional agreement reached in February 2019 in interinstitutional negotiations was adopted by the European Parliament on 17 April 2019, followed by the Council on 14 June. On 20 June 2019, the directive was signed into law and then published in the Official Journal on 11 July. Member States have until 1 August 2021 to transpose its provisions into national law.

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.

Reform of the Service of Documents Regulation

14-06-2019

In May 2018, the Commission put forward a proposal for amending the existing Regulation on Cross-border Service of Documents in civil proceedings. The proposal aims, above all, to replace the existing mechanisms of paper transmission with an electronic system. National information technology (IT) systems would be connected into one network, and the use of paper transmission would become an exception, available only in the event of a failure of the electronic system. Within Parliament, a draft report ...

In May 2018, the Commission put forward a proposal for amending the existing Regulation on Cross-border Service of Documents in civil proceedings. The proposal aims, above all, to replace the existing mechanisms of paper transmission with an electronic system. National information technology (IT) systems would be connected into one network, and the use of paper transmission would become an exception, available only in the event of a failure of the electronic system. Within Parliament, a draft report was prepared by the Legal Affairs Committee in October 2018, and in February 2019, the institution adopted its first-reading position on the proposal. Within Council, following an exchange of views between delegations and work at technical level, a policy debate is envisaged. Once Council reaches a general approach, trilogue negotiations will be able to start.

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.

European research area (ERA) – Regional and cross-border perspectives

30-04-2019

The ERA is a coordination system for national research infrastructures, and itself constitutes an infrastructure designed to create a single market for science. The main implementing instrument for the ERA is the European Union (EU) framework programme for research and innovation (R&I), currently Horizon 2020, alongside national roadmaps for implementing the common priorities. While the ERA offers a way to improve joint programming for research and innovation activities, interaction between research ...

The ERA is a coordination system for national research infrastructures, and itself constitutes an infrastructure designed to create a single market for science. The main implementing instrument for the ERA is the European Union (EU) framework programme for research and innovation (R&I), currently Horizon 2020, alongside national roadmaps for implementing the common priorities. While the ERA offers a way to improve joint programming for research and innovation activities, interaction between research infrastructures, the use of public-public partnerships between Member States, the application of smart specialisation strategies (S3) and the mobility of researchers, challenges still remain. The Horizon 2020 focus on excellence as the main criterion for receiving funding – a requirement designed to cement the EU's reputation in science and its global competitiveness – has led to a concentration of funding as well as R&I capacities in some countries and regions, while increasing the (innovation) gap between EU-15 and EU-13 countries. Other main challenges include the absence of a clear, shared definition of the ERA concept, the multiplication of instruments, and the non-use of binding legislation for ERA implementation. One way to improve the ERA and to broaden participation and cohesion without undermining the criterion of excellence might be to enhance the interoperability between funding and programmes and to continue working on making the EU state aid rules more R&I-friendly.

Revision of the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) Directive

25-04-2019

On 31 May 2017, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union. It was presented within the context of the Commission's first 'Europe on the Move' package that seeks to modernise mobility and transport. Tying in with the 2015 energy union strategy and the Commission's 2016 European strategy for low emission mobility, and announced in the 2017 ...

On 31 May 2017, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union. It was presented within the context of the Commission's first 'Europe on the Move' package that seeks to modernise mobility and transport. Tying in with the 2015 energy union strategy and the Commission's 2016 European strategy for low emission mobility, and announced in the 2017 Commission work programme, the revision of the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) was presented together with the revision of the directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (the Eurovignette Directive). Interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations concluded on 20 November 2018. The agreed text was formally adopted by Parliament on 14 February 2019 and by Council on 4 March 2019. The final act was then published in the Official Journal on 29 March 2019. Member States now have until 19 October 2021 to apply the directive’s measures in their national laws.

Boosting cooperation on health technology assessment

15-04-2019

The European Commission has proposed a regulation on health technology assessment (HTA). HTA is a research-based tool that supports decision-making in healthcare by assessing the added value of a given health technology compared to others. The proposal would provide the basis for permanent EU-level cooperation in four areas. Member States would still be responsible for assessing the non-clinical (economic, ethical, social, etc.) aspects of health technology, and for pricing and reimbursement. While ...

The European Commission has proposed a regulation on health technology assessment (HTA). HTA is a research-based tool that supports decision-making in healthcare by assessing the added value of a given health technology compared to others. The proposal would provide the basis for permanent EU-level cooperation in four areas. Member States would still be responsible for assessing the non-clinical (economic, ethical, social, etc.) aspects of health technology, and for pricing and reimbursement. While Member States could choose to delay participation in the joint work until three years after the rules enter into force, it would become mandatory after six years. Stakeholders have broadly welcomed the proposal. National parliaments, however, are divided in their appreciation of it. The Council has not yet agreed its position; technical discussions continue. Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on 13 September 2018, and the report was voted in plenary on 3 October. However, with interinstitutional trilogue negotiations unable to start, on the Council side, Parliament adopted its final position at first reading on 14 February 2019.

European Border and Coast Guard

10-04-2019

The European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional agreement to adopt a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). The text aims at reinforcing the protection of the EU's external borders, building on previous efforts of EU institutions to develop a European Integrated Border Management (EIBM) system. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal during the April II plenary session.

The European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional agreement to adopt a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). The text aims at reinforcing the protection of the EU's external borders, building on previous efforts of EU institutions to develop a European Integrated Border Management (EIBM) system. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal during the April II plenary session.

Transnational clusters and the Danube macro-regional strategy

18-03-2019

As geographical concentrations of enterprises, which work together in the same field to develop a high level of expertise, services and skills, clusters are hotbeds of innovation and play an important role in the EU economy. Known as transnational clusters when they involve actors from two or more countries in the same geographical area, clusters tend to generate higher employment growth than firms located outside clusters, and are estimated to account for a significant proportion of jobs in the ...

As geographical concentrations of enterprises, which work together in the same field to develop a high level of expertise, services and skills, clusters are hotbeds of innovation and play an important role in the EU economy. Known as transnational clusters when they involve actors from two or more countries in the same geographical area, clusters tend to generate higher employment growth than firms located outside clusters, and are estimated to account for a significant proportion of jobs in the European Union. Linking countries from across a wide geographical region, the EU's macro-regional strategies provide a useful framework to support transnational clusters. Launched in December 2010, the EU strategy for the Danube region (EUDSR) covers 14 countries that differ both in terms of their development and their relationship with the EU, including nine EU Member States and five third countries. With one of the major challenges in the Danube region being the uneven levels of innovation performance between the highly developed western part of the region and the less-developed east, transnational clusters have the potential to help redress this balance and to increase regional competiveness. The development of clusters is firmly supported by the EUSDR's action plan, which outlines a number of actions to foster clusters across the Danube region. This has led to several cluster projects, with a particular emphasis on the bio-based and agri-food sectors, building on the expertise of local enterprises in this field. The European Commission and academic experts have welcomed the progress made in the development of clusters in the Danube region in recent years, yet challenges remain, with issues such as funding difficulties, the lack of visibility of macro-regional strategies and declining political commitment all causes for concern. Future discussions on the content of cohesion programmes post-2020 provide a golden opportunity to highlight the potential of macro-regional strategies for fostering regional development and how transnational clusters can contribute to this process. This briefing has been produced at the request of a member of the Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

Victims of terrorism

01-03-2019

The European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism has been established as 11 March each year, marking the Madrid bombings in 2004. The protection of victims of terrorism constitutes an essential part of the EU’s action to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. Following the wave of terror that has hit Europe in recent years, rules and sanctions related to terrorist activities have been strengthened, while better protection and support to victims of terrorism is being ensured through ...

The European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism has been established as 11 March each year, marking the Madrid bombings in 2004. The protection of victims of terrorism constitutes an essential part of the EU’s action to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. Following the wave of terror that has hit Europe in recent years, rules and sanctions related to terrorist activities have been strengthened, while better protection and support to victims of terrorism is being ensured through action at EU level.

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