European Commission
EU rules UK data protection regime is “adequate”
On 28 June, the Commission published a ruling which found that the UK ensures “an adequate level of protection for personal data” which is transferred from the EU to the UK, after a long period of deliberation. The decision means the UK will retain “adequate” status for four years, though the Commission warned that this could be withdrawn at any time were the UK to lower its data protection standards at some point in the future. The development marks a boost for British businesses because if the UK were to be denied data adequacy, British businesses in key sectors like banking and logistics would be forced to establish more costly, bureaucratic processes to share data between the EU and UK. In response John Foster, the director of policy at the Confederation of British Industry, stated that “The free flow of data is the bedrock of modern economy and essential for firms across all sectors – from automotive to logistics – playing an important role in everyday trade of goods and services.” Commissioner for Justice Reynders also noted that “[the decision] is important for smooth trade and the effective fight against crime.” It is worth noting however that the decision does not apply to personal data which is transferred for UK immigration purposes, which is exempt from the ruling. (link)

EU Public Prosecutor says Slovenia is a “huge risk” regarding EU fund allocations in the country
Laura Codruța Kövesi, who is the EU Public Prosecutor’s Office’s new chief, has said Slovenia’s failure to appoint prosecutors to the EU body (which is in charge of investigating fraudulent use of EU funds and corruption) will severely hamper oversight of how EU money is spent in Slovenia. The Commission approved Slovenia’s plans for spending its allocation of the EU’s COVID-19 recovery fund on 1 July – its Recovery and Resilience Plan. Under this plan Slovenia will receive €2.5 billion in total — €1.8 billion in grants and €700 million in loans — over the next six years. Yet Slovenia controversially failed to appoint two EU-delegated prosecutors in time for the start of the EU Public Prosecutor’s Office’s operations on June 1, after Prime Minister Janez Janša blocked their appointment on the grounds “the national Prosecutorial Council did not provide the Ministry of Justice with a sufficient pool of qualified candidates.” The only other country which had not yet installed a prosecutor was Finland, which has already secured a deal with the EPPO. “Finland is not a problem anymore,” Kövesi said. “From this point of view, only Slovenia is a huge problem.” (link)

·        France: A woman who is responsible for causing a major crash by holding up a sign at the Tour de France on Saturday was arrested by French police. Dozens of cyclists fell. (link)

·        Germany: Authorities raided more than 100 premises of a motorcycle gang in North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday and seized weapons, ammunitions and cash. Almost 1,800 officers were involved. (link)

·        Greece: The deputy leader of a neo-Nazi party (Golden Dawn) was arrested on Thursday. The man was evading justice since he was sentenced to over 13 years in jail in October. (link)

·        Italy: The Interior Ministry has suspended 52 prison guards after a video footage showed officers beating inmates with batons near Naples. (link)

·        Luxembourg: MPs passed a law on the use of video surveillance by the police. The law sets out the operational details for the use of cameras as well as measures to protect citizens’ rights. (link)

·        Malta: A 44-year-old woman is under arrest after a man was found stabbed to death in Mellieha on Friday morning. Both are from the Philippines. The Maltese police is investigating. (link)

·        Netherlands: On Thursday, police officers seized almost three tons of cocaine and €11.3 million in cash on a farm near Amsterdam’s airport. (link)

·        Portugal: Joe Berardo, a Portuguese art collector has been arrested on Tuesday over fraud allegations. He is accused of shifting valuable artworks into a trust to protect them from creditors. (link)

·        Sweden: A police officer was shot and killed on Wednesday while on duty. No arrests have been made in connection with the crime. Police are investigating. (link)

Other news
Dutch police, Europol, Eurojust, US and Canada take down cybercrime network DoubleVPN
Coordinated action led by the Dutch National Police (Politie) in tandem with Europol, American and Canadian law enforcement authorities has led to the takedown of a key cybercrime network called DoubleVPN. DoubleVPN is a virtual private network which allowed cybercriminals to coordinate their attacks on victims with full anonymity and lack of traceability, which was being heavily used by ransomware and phishing fraudsters. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) supported the investigation from the onset, bringing together all the involved countries to establish a joint strategy. Eurojust facilitated the judicial cross-border cooperation and coordination, to ensure a strong cross-border approach to neutralising the network. (link)

Albanian police officers arrested in anti-drug trafficking operation
After the culmination of a several years-long operation against drug trafficking in Albania, authorities arrested dozens of people and seized millions of euros’ worth of drugs and other assets. Among those arrested were current and former Albanian police officers, including two officers which are former members of staff of the Albanian Ministry of Interior. Among those arrested are also Maksim Sota, a prosecutor in the region of Vlora in southern Albania. The news was announced Thursday 1 July by the Albanian Special Prosecution Against Organised Crime and Corruption, SPAK. (link)

Look Ahead :

–       6 July: The Slovenian Presidency is organising a regular informal meeting of directors-general and other senior officials in charge of migration and asylum policies in the member states. They will discuss, among other things, border management and international protection. The page of the event can be found here.

–       6 July: MEPs will hold a Joint debate related to the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Integrated Border Management Fund. After the debate MEPs are set to vote on both reports presented by Tanja Fajon (S&D/Slovenia).

–       7 July: MEPs will hold a debate followed by a vote on the “Use of technologies for the processing of data for the purpose of combating online child sexual abuse”. The report has been presented by Birgit Sippel (S&D/Germany).

–       14 July: Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers organised by the Slovenian presidency. Ministers will address the Digital Agenda from the perspective of law enforcement and comprehensive migration and border management. Other topics include artificial intelligence (AI) and child-friendly justice.

 

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