European Commission
Commission starts legal action against Hungary and Poland for violation of fundamental rights
As part of its July infringement package, the European Commission has decided to launch infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland related to violation of the equality and fundamental rights of theat the LGBTQI community. More specifically on Hungary, the Commission condemns the passing of a new law banning access to content portraying homosexuality for individuals under 18. On Poland, the Commission is seeking to have a concrete response from the Polish government on the creation of so-called “LGBT-ideology free zones” in the country. The Commission criticises Poland for not cooperating with its inquiry regarding the impact of such resolutions adopted by several Polish municipalities and regions. According to the rules laid down in the treaties, both countries have two months to respond to the Commission’s request. Moving forward, the Commission still has the right to issue a reasoned opinion if not satisfied and, as a last resource, the Commission is intitled to refer both or one of the countries to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. (link)

Commission refers Italy to European Court of Justice for crime-related data sharing gaps
On 15 July the Commission began proceedings to refer Italy to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) for failing to comply with EU data sharing rules on cross-border cooperation in combating cross-border crime and terrorism, which are collectively termed the “Prüm Decisions,” Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA). To recall, the Prüm Decisions allow Member State authorities to swiftly access and compare DNA, fingerprint and certain vehicle registration data collected during their national criminal investigations, with the respective databases in other Member States. Member States were obliged to implement the aforementioned rules by August 2011, yet the Commission notes that despite “repeated inquiries into Italy’s progress in implementing its obligations,” as things stand, Italy does not allow other Member States access to its DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data. Following the referral to the ECJ, the ECJ may decide to impose fines if Italy continues to fail to act. (link)

·        Belgium: The Federal Public Health Minister is calling for random police checks at Belgium’s borders to check travellers entering the country by car. (link)

·        France: The “Bahrain Victorious” cycling team competing at the Tour de France was raided by French police as part of a doping investigation. 25 officers were involved in the search. (link)

·        Germany and Belgium: hundreds of soldiers and police helicopters have been deployed to areas affected by the floods in the country. Dozens of people were waiting to be rescued on rooftops. (link)

·        Ireland and the Netherlands: Cocaine disguised as charcoal has been found and seized inside two shipping containers coming from South America. The operation was carried out jointly by Irish and Dutch authorities. (link)

·        Latvia: Marija Golubeva, Latvia’s Interior Minister, has announced that vaccination is likely to become compulsory for police officers and firefighters in the country. (link)

·        Portugal: A tobacco smuggling network was dismantled in Portugal and Spain by Police authorities from both countries. 23 people were detained. €116,000 in cash were seized and €100,000 in bank accounts along with 24 light vehicles and various computers. (link)

·        Spain: Police seized a large drone with a wingspan of 4.5 meters and with a capacity to carry 150 kg of cargo. The aircraft-looking drone was used to carry drugs from Morocco to Spain. (link)

·        Sweden: Swedish Police are investigating reports that rocks are being thrown at cars with Danish licence plates in southern Sweden. More than 100 attacks were reported. (link)

·        UK: Police have seized a record $250 million haul of cryptocurrency in London. This is the second time in 2 months that such a huge seizure occurs. This time, the amount is believed to be one of the largest seizures of cryptocurrency globally. (link)

Other news
Slow progress in finding agreement on EU pact on migration and asylum Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs has revealed that following an informal meeting of EU home affairs ministers within the Council, Member States remain somewhat divided on key issues in the context of migration and asylum, without elucidating which key sticking points are persisting. The original Commission proposal for a common EU migration and asylum policy had been published in September 2020, and discussions are ongoing amongst the EU co-legislators – the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Despite the divergences at play however, Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson is adamant that a consensus can be reached in the end, given Member States had agreed on a fundamental point that controls at EU internal borders can only be utilised in extreme circumstances. Slovenian Interior Minister Hojs also stated that overall, Member States agreed that a common EU approach on migration and asylum is necessary in the first instance, and progress will ultimately depend on concessions to be made by Mediterranean and the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). (link)

Italian police pose as priests to catch fake Vatican cardinals committing fraud
The Italian carabinieri has caught a group of criminals which were disguising themselves as cardinals and attempting to defraud people out of millions of Euros. Five gang members aged between 58 and 75 were arrested in an operation in Rome, where they had been presenting themselves to people as “the Vatican’s intermediary” and asking for cash payments, in return for promises of very large loans “from the Vatican bank.” To catch the criminals, the carabinieri appeared disguised as priests themselves and used wiretaps. (link)


Look Ahead :

–       14 July – 20 August: The Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee have launched an open call for those interested to participate in the European Migration Forum meeting to be held in October. Interested people have until 20 August to apply. More information here.

–       21 July: Within the EU Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EUOSHA), Occupational Safety and Health experts will discuss the latest changes to safety and health legislation. The webinar is mainly targeted at safety officers and safety and health consultants providing external preventive and protective services. The full programme can be found here.

–       22 July: COREPER is meeting to discuss, among other things, the authorisation for the opening of negotiations for a cooperation agreements between the EU and Interpol. More details available here.

–       26 July: The European Parliament will not hold any meetings for the remainder of the month of July. The entire Parliament will take a summer recess from 26 July until 22 August. Business resumes on 23 August 2021.



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