European Commission
Political agreement reached at EU level on EU Digital COVID Certificate
After negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council, a provisional political agreement was reached on the Regulation governing the EU Digital COVID Certificate. The certificates will be free, and cover vaccination, negative PCR tests and recovery from COVID-19, and will be available either digitally or in paper format, and contain a digitally signed QR code. The Commission has welcomed an inter-institutional agreement being reached just two months after it issued the original proposal, “in record time.” The development means that the EU Digital COVID Certificate should be up and running before the summer, in line with the Commission’s planned timeline, and the Commission is providing technical and financial support to Member States to on-board the issuance and verification systems required for the certificates. A European Parliament vote on the agreement is scheduled for an early June plenary, and after approval from the Council as well, the Regulation is then expected to enter into force on 1 July, with a phasing-in period of six weeks. (link)

Commission appoints first ever anti-racism coordinator
In line with its Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025, the Commission has just appointed its first ever anti-racism coordinator. Michaela Moua, a career basketball player born of a Finnish mother and Ivorian father, who previously worked at the ministry of justice in Finland, was named as the coordinator in a press release this week. She will act as a focal point for Member States, the European Parliament, civil society and academia so that the voices of people of racial or ethnic minority backgrounds are heard and mainstreamed into EU policy. Per the Commission, Moua will also join forces with other Commission services and officials to implement upcoming Commission initiatives on fighting racism and discrimination. (link)

·       Austria: Authorities in Austria seized weapons and ammunition in raids on radical opponents of coronavirus restrictions. The Interior Minister said that investigations stemmed from a Telegram chat group where participants were talking about Molotov cocktails, bombs and guns. (Link)

·       Croatia: The Croatian government announced on Wednesday that discussions to amend the bilateral agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which regulates enforcement of prison sentences, will take place in coming days. (Link)

·       Italy – Germany: Fake euro banknotes gang was broken up by Europol and German and Italian police on Thursday. The operations were based in Naples and the notes were distributed in Germany. (Link)

·       Malta: Maltese police officers will start donning a bodycam to record their interactions with the public. The €1 million investment will be used in court proceedings where necessary. (Link)

·       Netherlands: One suspect died and other six were arrested in a shootout with police following an attempted robbery of a vehicle transporting valuable goods in a city close to Amsterdam. (Link)

·       Portugal: A major police operation to combat drug trafficking was conducted in 8 countries and arrested 12 people. Narcotics, weapons, money and ammunitions were seized. (Link)

·       Romania: Along with 9 other EU countries, Romanian police intercepted a massive shipment of heroin from Iran heading to Western Europe. Officials called it the second-largest haul of the drug in the EU in recent years. (Link)

·       UK: The police arrested eight men for racist abuse at Premier League football player. Through painstaking police work, the anonymous social media users were identified and tracked down. Most of the people involved are aged below 32. (Link)

Other news
French police protest in Paris against violent attacks on officers
Thousands of French police officers staged a protest outside the French Parliament on Wednesday 19 May, after growing fears for the safety of police officers in France amidst several deadly attacks in recent weeks. The officers protesting called for tougher responses to the aggression and violent threats they face. Within one month, a policeman was killed in a drugs raid and a policewoman stabbed to death in a targeted attack. “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Stanislas Gaudon, head of the Alliance police union. “It was something we were afraid of, almost expecting.” Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin, who oversees French police and security forces within his role, attended the event to show his support. Yet this was also decried by some observers as merely an attempt by the Macron government to look tough on law on order ahead of next year’s French Presidential election. (link)

Northern Ireland Police Chief warned ministers of a lockdown enforcement risk in 2020
It has emerged that Chief Constable Simon Byrne of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) sent a letter, dated 17 April 2020, warning Stormont ministers that police officers enforcing lockdown rules could have “medium term consequences for public confidence.” Byrne suggested council wardens or environmental health officers should be taking on the role of lockdown enforcements, and that this remit falls outside the “traditional role” of police officers. Byrne’s letter was sent to Health Minister Robin Swann and copied to First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill and Justice Minister Naomi Long. It was released under a BBC News Freedom of Information request. (link)

Look Ahead

–      25 May : The Portuguese Presidency is organising an event entitled “International Conference on Human Trafficking”. The Conference builds on the Porto Declaration (2007) and on the “European Strategy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings”  to discuss the new challenges ahead and the Anti-Trafficking Directive. More information here (in Portuguese).

–      25 May: Joint meeting (LIBE + FEMM) to discuss gender-based violence as a new area of crime listed in Article 83(1) TFEU. MEPs will also discuss the Istanbul Convention. The full agenda of the sitting can be found here.

–      26 May: COREPER I is meeting to discuss, among other things, its position regarding the Regulation amending the Visa Information System (VIS) Regulation. More information on the agenda here.

–      26 May: There will be an informal meeting of the Members of the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum that will discuss issues such: The New Pack on Migration and Asylum, the Frontex Annual Risk Analysis and the Outcome of the Ministerial Conference on Migration Flows. More information can be found here.

–      27 May: EUCrimACom 21 – The European Criminal analysis conference (Europol). The aim of the webinar will be to address criminal analysis in the EU, highlighting both strategic and operational analysis capabilities, as well as the importance of analysis training. Registration is open here.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *