|Commission takes strong stance against Danish asylum law
The Commission has said Danish government plans to outsource its entire asylum procedures to non-EU countries would be illegal, contravening the Geneva Convention on refugees. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson emphasized at a statement on Friday 18 June that the draft Danish legislation could create a “knock-on effect to neighbouring EU countries” like Germany and Sweden. While the Commission says such outsourcing would be illegal given the EU principle of fundamental rights of asylum, Catherine Woollard, who serves as Secretary General of the Brussels-based NGO European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) indicated that actually challenging the Danish plan under EU law would be “difficult,” though she criticized the plans as “fantasy options” which were “part of a larger “form of externalisation” that sought to shift responsibility onto other countries outside Europe.” (link)Commission says Hungarian LGBTQ+ bill violates fundamental rights laws
In an official statement from 23rd June, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that a Hungarian draft bill – which installs a ban on the portrayal of homosexuality and gender transitioning in educational programs, advertising and television shows for minors – would violate EU fundamental rights legislation and “clearly discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.” At the same time, Commissioners for Internal Market and Justice, respectively, Thierry Breton and Didier Reynders, published a letter addressed to Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga, saying that the Hungarian bill “unjustifiably” limits the television and online content currently regulated in the EU under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the e-Commerce Directive. EU rules in the aforementioned legislation stipulate Member States can only take down content if there is a “danger to a legitimate public interest,” which the Commissioners emphasise does not apply in this case. If the Bill were to enter into force, the Commissioners warned that the Commission would not hesitate to take legal action in line with EU treaty law. (link)
|Europol report finds terror organisations exploited pandemic to spread hate and mistrust in public bodies
In a report released by Europol on Tuesday 22nd June, the organisation revealed that terror organisations exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to “spread hate propaganda and exacerbate mistrust in public institutions.” The EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2021 uses figures on terrorist attacks and terrorism-related arrests in the EU in 2020, with data largely provided to Europol by Member States. A key finding is that while terrorists have used polarization in society to “pollute the social climate with violent ideologies” in recent years, the pandemic strongly accelerated this trend. Europol recorded 57 “completed, failed and foiled” terrorist attacks in 2020 in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, with the UK experiencing 62 “terror incidents.” In total, 21 EU citizens died directly from terror incidents in 2020. In addition, 449 individuals were arrested on suspicion of terror offences across 17 EU countries that year. (link)Swedish police training applications surge ahead of the autumn
In Sweden, of the coming autumn’s 1020 places in the five locations of police training across the country, 945 have been filled. As of Friday 25th June, all police training admissions places at Borås University, Malmö University and Södertörn University have been filled. The 75 empty spaces are located on Linnaeus University’s campus and Umeå University’s campus and distance spaces. The last day for admission to the autumn training session will be on 9th July, with the term starting on 30th August. (link)
|Look Ahead :
– 22 June: The European Parliament LIBE Committee is meeting to discuss, among other things, the EU Strategy to tackle organised crime, the EU approach on Migration in the Mediterranean, Europol’s annual EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) and the Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. The full agenda of the meeting can be consulted here.
– 22 June: CEPOL is organising an event entitled “Access to the asylum procedure and identification of vulnerable applicants for asylum”. Registration is mandatory. The programme of the event is available here.
– 22 June: EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting to discuss countering extremism, hate speech, artificial intelligence, access to e-evidence, and online crimes relating to COVID-19. Event organised by the Portuguese Presidency and chaired by the Portuguese Ministers for Home Affairs and of Justice. Representatives of the European Commission, EU agencies and the future Presidency, as well as, on the US side, representatives of Homeland Security and Justice will be present. More information here.
– 24-25 June: European Leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss, among other things, the migration situation in Europe. Background information on the topic can be found here. The provisional agenda of the meeting is available here.
– 28 June: CEPOL Webinar entitled “Hate Crime: Anti-Muslim hatred”. Registration is mandatory. The full programme can be consulted here.