European Commission
MEPs call for enhanced EU cooperation with Morocco following Melilla tragedy
Following the Melilla tragedy in June which resulted in the tragic deaths of at least 23 migrants, Members of the European Parliament have called for an expanded collaboration with Morocco in order to have a more coordinated response to migration issues. 27 MEPs from parliamentary political groups held meetings with the Moroccan parliamentary delegation in Brussels late June and Strasbourg at the beginning of July to discuss reports by the committees on human rights and foreign affairs. During these meetings, members of the Morocco-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee called for a strengthened Euro-Moroccan partnership in fields such as security, illegal immigration, organized crime and cross-border terrorism. The committee also rejected two draft amendments, one of which accused Morocco of human rights crimes in the field of migration. Furthermore, MEP José Ramon Bauza Diaz (Renew) has addressed a question to the European Commission regarding its involvement and assistance in border security following the Melilla tragedy, in particular through cooperation with EU border agency Frontex.

The European Parliament also requested the appearance of Spanish Minister of Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska within one of its Civil Liberties commission sessions in order to explain the government’s management of the Melilla tragedy. (link)

European Parliament calls for introduction of a “Green Prosecutor” to tackle eco-criminality
Increasing cases of eco-criminality led the European Parliament to approve a resolution on illegal logging, potentially looking at an extension of the EU public prosecutor’s mandate to cover “green” crime. At the moment, only one police officer attached to Europol is investigating such crimes across all member states, and only a few of said Member States have specific climate law enforcement units. Furthermore, in many EU countries, eco-crimes are treated as administrative offences and thus are not punished by criminal law. In a recently published report, Europol warns about the lack of harmonised prosecution rules within the EU regarding eco-crimes.

While climate change and the EU implementing stricter climate rules are likely to increase the amount of eco-crimes across Europe, the identification of environmental criminal networks remains a considerable challenge for law enforcement. The European Commission is open to the idea of extending the EPPO’s mandate, however this is not expected in the near future since it has already been dealing with a substantial caseload since its creation. At the same time, MEPs backing this proposal like Vlad Gheorghe (Renew) are fearing opposition to the EPPO’s mandate extension from countries like Hungary and Poland. (link)

 

Country News:

·        Denmark: On 3 July, three people were killed and several others wounded after a shooting at a shopping mall in Copenhagen. (link)

·        Estonia: As Russia lifted most of its COVID-19 restriction, Estonia’s Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) reported an increase in border crossing from the country. (link)

·        Netherlands: A police officer is now subject of a criminal investigation after shooting a 16-year-old boy during a farmers’ protest earlier this month. (link)

·        Poland: According to a new report by Amnesty International, Polish authorities are continuously stigmatizing and mistreating LGBTI individuals and resisting their attempts to protest. (link)

·        Portugal: Minister for Interior Administration José Luís Carneiro said a €600 million investment plan will be approved by the Council of Ministers later in August to reorganize Portugal’s network of police stations. (link)

·        Slovenia: In comparison with the previous year, Slovenian police has seen an 75% increase of migrants crossing into the country illegally. (link)

·        Spain: On 18 July, the Spanish Supreme Court condemned a discriminatory rule that prevented shorter women from joining the country’s police force, ruling that height requirements must take into account the average height for each sex. (link)

·        Sweden: In a joint action supported by Europol, Swedish police and fourteen other countries arrested over 130 criminals during an EU-wide action against child trafficking. (link)

 Other news

EU Terrorism Report finds terrorism risk remains high, despite lower attack frequency
According to the newly published 2022 edition of the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT), which is published by Europol, the danger of terrorism in the EU remains high despite a reduction in the number of attacks. In 2021, EU Member States registered a total of 15 terrorist attacks, including failed and foiled attempts. According to the report, this was significantly fewer than the 57 attacks in the previous year. Also in 2021 some 388 suspects were arrested, two-thirds for suspected jihadist terrorism offences in Austria, France and Spain. As a comparison, in 2020, there were 449 arrests, in 2019, 723. Further, the report finds that the primary threat continues to stem from lone actors associated with jihadist and right-wing violent extremism. In the online sphere, Europol finds that terrorist propaganda in 2021 continued to link closely to anti-COVID-19 lockdown and anti-government extremism. Europol notes that the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have a “lasting impact” on the security landscape of the EU for years – particularly given the amount of radicalized individuals from Member States who have joined the fight on both sides, and the impact of the war on the facilitation of online extremism. In her foreword within the report. Europol Executive Director Catherine de Bolle stated “In a time of geopolitical shifts, the EU needs to continue more than ever its counter-terrorist measures. Europol will continue to work closely with its partners to meet the challenges ahead.” (link)

Report suggests there is growing “culture of extremism” among European and UK police forces
According to a report by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), a London-headquartered think tank, there is a deepening culture of extremism amongst European and UK police forces. In the report, entitled Racism, Radicalisation and the Thin Blue Line, Liz Fekete, the IRR’s Director, argues that police trade union bodies and unions are “aggressively intervening in the public space to defend the use of lethal weaponry, dangerous restraint techniques and racial profiling on the streets.” The report cites recent cases of police officers sharing racist and bigoted content over social media networks like WhatsApp, recently covered by the press in the context of the murder of Sarah Everard in London. It also states that in the EU a sign of the penetration of the far-right into police forces is demonstrated by “a revolving door between police, military and the far Right” in some Member States. For example, in France, Belgium, Germany and Hungary former high-ranking police officers have become extreme-right mayoral and parliamentary candidates. In France, 81% of serving gendarmes stated they would vote for far-right candidate Marine le Pen. The report comes amidst a recent Council of Europe report highlighting a trend of police racism in Europe. (link)

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