European Commission

European Commission publishes consultation on the revision of the Prüm framework
After a month-long roadmap process, the European Commission has now produced a questionnaire on its upcoming revision of the Prüm framework. This consultation will be open for feedback for a nearly three-month period for stakeholder to provide answers to. The Commission aims to identify potential inefficiencies of the current framework, and  what  changes are needed to make it  fit  for purpose in today’s union (link).

Gender-based violence roadmap
The  European  Commission  has  published  a  roadmap  on  combatting  gender-based  violence  in  the European Union. The aim is to specifically focus on domestic violence and violence against women, with the Commission looking to propose rules to better protect victims and punish offenders. In its Inception Impact Assessment, the Commission proposes three scenarios moving forward:

–      Baseline   scenario:   Commission  continues  to  address   such  violence   through  its  existing instruments.

–      Targeted   legislative   measures:   The   Commission   proposes   a   ‘Recommendation   on   the prevention of harmful practices’ as well as potential legislative measures around the physical protection of victims.

–      Holistic legislative initiative: The Commission drafts a concrete legislative proposal aimed on preventing and combatting gender-based and domestic violence. This would create minimum standards in areas where the EU holds competency, with the potential of EU-level enforcement of these standards.

All of these scenarios will also be complimented by measures arising from the EU’s Gender Equality

Strategy (here) presented earlier this year (link).

European Parliament

Plenary debate on the EU’s Security Union Strategy
The  European  Parliament  plenary  this  week  debated  the  EU’s  Security  Union  Strategy.  During  the debate,  German  Deputy  Minister  for  European  Affairs  Michael  Roth,  representing  the  German Presidency, underlined that through recent Council Conclusions the Council is aiming “to significantly improve the future of internal security”. A few MEPs also took the floor, with French MEP Fabienne Keller most notably stating that the Renew group supports Europol becoming “a real European FBI” (link).

European Council

Justice and Home Affairs Council
During this week’s Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, EU ambassadors agreed in support of a provisional inter-institutional deal on three sectoral proposals under the home affairs banner (link).

1)    Asylum  and  migration  fund:  This  fund  will  help  the  EU  battle  migration-related  issues.  The ambassadors agreed to provide four key objectives for the fund; these objectives are asylum policy,  legal  migration  and  integration,  irregular  migration  and  returns,  and  solidarity  and responsibility sharing.

2)    Instrument  for  financial  support  for  border  management  and  visa:  This  text  clarifies  rules around the modernization of visa policy (i.e. minimum share of member state policies to be moved to the common EU visa policy) as well as sets out more effective means of collaboration between  national  authorities.  Assets  that  are  bought  through  this  new  instrument  will  be utilized in a variety of other areas such as maritime or customs operations.

3)    Internal security fund: This is an extension of the existing internal security fund to overcome new  challenges  such  as  the  urgent  need  to  raise  Europe’s  anti-terrorism  and  cybersecurity capabilities.

Other news

Inauguration of the new decryption platform by Europol and the European Commission
Europol launched a new decryption platform this week in an effort to more effectively fight organised crime  and terrorism in Europe.  This was created  in  close  collaboration with the  Commission’s Joint Research Centre. The platform will become available for all national law enforcement authorities and will support their work by encrypting evidence sent by national police forces(link).

The Council of Europe and the OECD reach update cooperation agreement
The two institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to reignite their cooperation, up until now only based on agreement made back in 1962. The collaboration will entail exchange of views and values by both sides, and common work on tackling corruption, supporting gender equality, and dealing with new challenges surrounding cyberspace (link).

OSHA begins work on Healthy Workplaces Campaign
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has published its pages on the first three priority areas (Prevention, Facts and Figures and Chronic Conditions) (link).

The three institutions launched on 17 December a new project aimed at supporting the operational law enforcement capabilities of South Partner Countries (this includes Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia,  Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Libya and the Palestinian Authority) (link).

Enhanced OECD/Interpol cooperation
The OECD and Interpol have jointly signed a letter of intent under which the institutions will explore new avenues and areas in which they can cooperate in more closely. (link)

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