European Commission
Commission launches process for data adequacy while UK agrees to extend ratification period
The Commission last week launched the process towards the adoption of two adequacy decisions for transfers of personal data to the United Kingdom, one under the General Data Protection Regulation and the other for the Law Enforcement Directive. The next steps in the process are obtaining an opinion from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and green light from a committee composed of representatives of the EU Member States. Once this has been completed, the Commission could proceed to adopt the two adequacy decisions. (link) Meanwhile, the UK has this week accepted the EU’s request to extend the provisional application period of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement until 30 April. This provides the EU with enough time to complete the legal-linguist revision of the text and ratify the deal. A European Parliament plenary session is currently scheduled for the week beginning 26 April, which is when the deal should receive final ratification from the Parliament side.

Vice-President Jourová and Commissioner Reynders make statement on European Day for Victims of Crime
Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourová and Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders gave a statement on Monday marking the European Day for Victims of Crime. The statement highlighted the impact of the COVID pandemic on crimes such as domestic violence, child sexual abuse, cybercrime, and racist and xenophobic hate crime. They noted measures the Commission had taken such as the publication of the first Victims’ Rights Strategy, the appointment of the first Coordinator for victims’ rights and the establishment of the EU Victims’ Rights Platform. (link)

Commission opens feedback on proposals to include hate speech and hate crime on list of EU crimes
The Commission has this week opened the feedback period on its roadmap for an initiative to expand the list of EU crimes to include hate speech and hate crime. The objective of the proposal is to have hate speech and hate crime identified as ‘other areas of crime’. The feedback period closes on 20 April 2021. (link)

European Council

EU leaders discuss COVID coordination efforts
EU leaders met via videoconference this Thursday to discuss COVID coordination. In their conclusions, leaders emphasised the need for restrictions on non-essential travel to remain in place while recognising the threat posed by new variants of the virus. On the issue of vaccinations, they said there was an urgent need to accelerate the authorisation, production and distribution of vaccines, while calling on companies to ensure the predictability of their vaccine production and respect contractual delivery deadlines. Leaders also discussed the idea of digital vaccination certificates and decided to task ambassadors with coming up with proposals in three months’ time when a sufficient number of EU citizens will be vaccinated. (link)

Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security holds informal meeting
The Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) held an informal meeting this week discussing the update of the Prüm framework and issues such as tackling illegal content online in the context of recent legislative developments. COSI also discussed the state of play of the EU Innovation Hub for Internal Security and exchanged views on the way forward regarding its governance and operational tasks. (link)

European Parliament

LIBE Committee discusses Europol mandate with Commissioner Johansson
The LIBE Committee in the European Parliament this week discussed the mandate of Europol together with Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. Commissioner Johansson reiterated the key aspects of the revised mandate presented in December. (link) The Committee also this week discussed the candidacy of General Lecouffe as Europol’s Deputy Director. (link) In addition to this, the Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) formally began its work on 23 February with the appointment of its Chair and a rapporteur. (link)

·        Iceland: Better working hours announced for Iceland police officers (link)

·        Ireland: GRA says Gardai should be treated as a priority group and vaccinated after medically vulnerable people (link)

·        Portugal: Professional Association of Guarda launches survey on risk factors and well-being of GNR professionals (link)

·        Netherlands: Police officers will no longer issue fines for minor offenses in protest against the government’s refusal to come up with a decent wage offer (link)

Other news
EuroCOP supports Malta Police Association in encouraging government towards meaningful social dialogue
EuroCOP has been supporting its member organisation the Malta Police Association (MPA) in its engagement with the Maltese Government to encourage meaningful social dialogue. EuroCOP President Calum Steele sent a letter to Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela calling on the Government to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring active social dialogue and collective bargaining at all levels in light of reports of instances where appropriate and meaningful social dialogue with the MPA was being bypassed. The issue was also raised at a session of the Maltese Parliament on 23 February by Member of Parliament Robert Cutajar. (link)
Look Ahead
–        4 March 2021 – European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs holds an exchange of views with Nicolas Schmit (Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights) on the action plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR)

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