European Parliament Plenary calls for fully functional Schengen area

At its Plenary session this week the European Parliament discussed the need to return to a fully functional Schengen area without internal border controls, passing a resolution on the matter with 619 votes in favour and 45 against. The Parliament also called for more flexibility, localised measures, better coordination and cooperation, as well as contingency plans in order to avoid temporary border controls becoming semi-permanent in the future. (link) MEPs also debate the issue of fundamental rights, adopting its 2018-2019 report on the state of fundamental rights in the EU. They called on Member States to refrain from adopting laws that restrict the freedom of assembly, and to put an end to disproportionate and violent interventions by law enforcement authorities. (link)

·        Belgium: Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne gives interview discussing stricter procedure on violence against police (link)

·        Ireland: Garda Representative Association calls for legislation to protect Gardai from abuse on social media (link)

·        Finnish: Police reports on unprecedented rise in domestic violence cases during COVID pandemic (link)

·        Greece: Migration Minister says country will abolish practice of holding asylum seeker children and teenagers in protective police custody (link)

Other news
Heads of EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies hold meeting on AI and digital capacity building

The heads of EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies gathered together last Friday for their annual meeting, focused on discussing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital capacity building. Agencies agreed to explore areas of closer cooperation when it comes to the digital future of law enforcement, border management and justice that respects fundamental rights. (link)


French ‘Global Security’ law banning the photographing of police officers sparks controversy

A new French law aiming to regulate the cooperation between national police, private security services

and local city police has sparked reaction and controversy across Member States due to a clause making it a criminal offence to film police officers at work and distribute the images. Critics have said the law would be an attack on the freedom of press, highlighting the role journalists play in shedding light on instances of police violence, especially after pictures of an armed police operation dismantling a refugee camp circulated online. (link) (link) A European Commission spokesperson also commented on the legislation saying news media must be able to work freely. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday that the government would review the wording of law. (link)

Council of Europe Secretary General calls for action on UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The 25 November marked the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić stressing the need to learn lessons from the first COVID lockdowns in the spring. She called on countries that have not yet done so to ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention and said police officers and health professionals should be given guidelines to both identify and help victims of domestic abuse. (link) EU-OSHA has also joined the call for global action to increase awareness and share knowledge to support the development of practical measures for combating gender-based violence. (link)

Europol hosts Intellectual Property Crime Conference 2020

The Europol Intellectual Property Crime Conference 2020 took place on 23 November, bringing together experts in intellectual property crime and address the most recent innovations in enforcement strategies of intellectual property rights. The conference discussed the importance of IP enforcement during the COVID pandemic and resources for both public and private stakeholders to fight IP crime. (link) Meanwhile, the European Cybercrime Task Force (EUCTF), including experts from Europol, Eurojust and the Commission, have urged European Parliament to support the temporary derogation from the ePrivacy directive, to help fight online child sexual abuse. (link)

Look ahead
–                          30 November: First Schengen forum with the participation of VP Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner Ylva Johansson

–                          30 November: Meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), with discussions on the rule of law in Hungary and Poland and the fight against organised property crime (link)

–                          1 December: Joint debate of the European Parliament’s Committees on Legal Affairs and on

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality on intimate partner violence and custody rights (link)

–                          1 December: Meeting of the LIBE Committee with discussions on Frontex and EUROJUST (link)

–                          2 December: Videoconference of EU justice ministers (link)

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