European Commission
Commission invites feedback on the roadmap on the new Schengen strategy
The European Commission has published its roadmap on security & border management in the new Schengen strategy. The aim of the new strategy is to update the Schengen Borders Code and review the Schengen evaluation mechanism to make the Schengen area stronger, more resilient and adapted to evolving challenges. The feedback period closes on 8 February 2021. (link)

Commission seeks feedback on alignment of EU-Japan Agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with EU data protection rules
The Commission has opened the feedback period on the roadmap on improving the data protection safeguards currently included in the EU-Japan Agreement. This follows from a June 2020 Communication outlining that the agreement between EU and Japan on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters should be aligned with the requirements of EU rules on data protection for law enforcement. The feedback period closes on 11 February 2021. (link)

Commission concludes talks with Valneva for new potential vaccine
The European Commission has concluded exploratory talks with Valneva on purchasing a potential vaccine against COVID-19. The contract would provide the possibility for all EU Member States to purchase 30 million doses together, with an option for a further 30 million. This comes in addition to contracts the Commission has already agreed with 6 other providers. (link)

European Parliament

Parliamentary Committees debate EU-UK future relationship
The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committees in the European Parliament have this week debated the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. MEPs welcomed the agreement as a good solution but regretted that aspects such as security and defense cooperation were not included in the negotiations. The two Committees will prepare consent proposals to be voted on by Plenary. In addition to this, Parliament will also vote on an accompanying resolution prepared by the political groups in the UK Coordination Group and the Conference of Presidents. (link)

LIBE Committee confirms agreement on addressing terrorist content online
This week, the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament confirmed their agreement on the new instrument to address the dissemination of terrorist content online. The new legal act will establish a uniform definition of terrorist content and require internet platforms to remove terrorist content within one hour after they have received a removal order from competent authorities. The Council and the Parliament now need to complete the formal legislative procedure for adoption at second reading before the Regulation comes into force. (link) The LIBE Committee also adopted a non-legislative resolution this week on asylum and fast-tracked border procedures. MEPs raised concern about the increase of fundamental rights violations at the external borders and called on national authorities to comply with rules. (link)

·        Belgium: Riots break out in Brussels over death of person of colour in police custody (link)
·        Malta: Police recruits to receive accredited specialised training as part of skills enhancement process (link)

·        Netherlands: Police face €600 million budget shortage (link)

·        Spain: Police escort emergency convoys of COVID vaccines and food supplies to affected areas during Storm Filomena (link)

·        Spain: CCOO calls for inclusion of local and regional police officers in COVID vaccinations (link)

CEPOL opens call for Co-chair and experts to join Expert Group on Fundamental Rights
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement (CEPOL) has announced that it is looking for a Co- chair and experts contributing to the Expert Group on Fundamental Rights. The mandate of the Expert Group is to support CEPOL’s strategy for training on Fundamental Rights, Hate Crime and related issues and help promote the integration of fundamental rights and related issues as a horizontal topic in the CEPOL training portfolio. Issues to be considered include police ethics and the protection of victims’ rights and vulnerable groups. (link) CEPOL is also looking to establish a Knowledge Centre (CKC) on Law Enforcement Cooperation, Information Exchange and Interoperability (CKC INT) in January 2021. A call for a co-chair and experts for this has also been launched. (link)

Europol supports takedown of world’s largest illegal dark web marketplace
Europol has supported an international operation taking down the world’s largest illegal marketplace on the dark web, DarkMarket. The operation involved Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the USA, with Europol supporting the takedown with specialist operational analysis and coordinating the cross-border collaborative effort of the countries involved. (link) Elsewhere, Europol has also signed an agreement to exchange liaison officers with Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The agreement is part of the Joint Action Plan signed by the Executive Directors of the two agencies last year, aimed at strengthening the agencies’ common effort in enhancing the security of EU citizens. (link)


The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) opens investigation into Frontex
OLAF has opened an investigation into Frontex over allegations of harassment, misconduct and migrant pushbacks. Investigators have reportedly been interviewing members of the agency over the last month. (link)

Look Ahead

–         18-20 January: European Parliament plenary session debate and vote on the European Arrest Warrant and surrender procedures between Member States (here)

–         19 January: European Parliament plenary session debate on the humanitarian situation of refugees and migrants at the EU’s external borders (here)

–         20 January: Presentation of the Portuguese Presidency’s programme to the European Parliament plenary (here)

–         20 January: Inauguration of the new President of the United States

–         21 January: Meeting of EU heads of state on coordination of the COVID-19 pandemic response (here)

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