European Commission
Debate surrounds controversial European e-Evidence regulation

The European e-Evidence proposal, which aims to improve cross-border access to electronic evidence across the EU, is still being negotiated within trilogues between the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European Parliament, the latest of which occurred on 20 May. The original Commission proposal had been published back in April 2018. But the positions of the European Parliament and the Council remain divergent, particularly on the role of authorities in the countries where the evidence is hosted. The Parliament’s original position introduced a ‘notification mechanism’ whereby judicial authorities can issue a European Production Order, obliging online service providers located in another EU country to provide electronic evidence for an ongoing investigation. It is this part of the proposal that has proved problematic amongst Member States but also with civil society, with twenty-five media, journalist and civil society associations, together with internet companies publishing an open letter demanding stronger safeguards for fundamental rights within the final Regulation. Some Member States are also opposing this notification system on the basis it would bring back territoriality, and could risk further complications in countries where rule of law concerns persist. Trilogue negotiations are expected to last at least another two months and a compromise will be hard to hammer out. (link)

EU report finds minorities are targeted in stop and search more regularly across the bloc

A report published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has found that on the whole, ethnic minorities are stopped and searched more regularly, with a strong perception amongst those who have stopped in the last five years that ethnic profiling was the reason they were stopped. In some EU Member States, more than 80% of minority ethnic people surveyed perceived their most recent police stop as an example of profiling. Furthermore, this perception was most common among immigrants and descendants of immigrants from south Asia in Greece (89%) and Roma in the Netherlands (86 %) and Portugal (84%). (link)

·       Bulgaria: A specialised police unit will be set up to protect cultural heritage in Bulgaria. Both the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Culture will oversee the unit. (Link)

·       Cyprus: A company allegedly forged documents for a tender involving 1.2 million rapid tests is under investigation. The incident was reported by two ministry officials upon receiving the delivery. (Link)

·       Finland: The Interior Ministry is evaluating the possibility of wearing religious headgear, such as hijab scarves as part of a police uniform. The issue was raised by 20-year-old Fardowsa Mohamud, saying that her dream of performing voluntary military service was crushed by the ban on head scarves. (Link)

·       Germany: German police are investigating whether a fire at a Tesla facility had a political motive after far-left activists claimed responsibility. (Link)

·       Hungary: Hungary has sent a 20-member unit to serve in Serbia and 30-strong contingent to serve in North Macedonia with the aim to prevent a flow of illegal migrants into the EU. (Link)

·       Malta: Maltese Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa announced that Police Officers found using cannabis for recreational use will be dismissed from the force, even if it is legalised. (Link)

·       Romania: Border police intercepted more than 20 migrants trying to cross the western border into Hungary, either by hiding in trucks or on foot. (Link)

·       UK: As part of nationwide operation UK police have arrested 1,100 people, seizing almost 300 weapons. The operation formed part of an intensification week by UK police forces in a clampdown on so-called County Line networks. (Link)

Other news
French policewoman seriously wounded in knife attack near Nantes

A policewoman has been badly wounded in a knife attack in the town of La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, which occurred Friday afternoon. The suspect later died during a shoot-out with officers, after a manhunt involving two police helicopters and more than 200 officers. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted that he would be travelling to the scene of the attack. Furthermore, a source closely involved in the ongoing investigation stated that the suspect had been released from jail in March following a conviction for violence, and prison staff had previously indicated that the man had been radicalised in jail. The incident marked the latest in a high-profile and extensive series of incidents involving violent attacks on French police. (link)

Council of the EU adopts changes to Europe’s visa system in aim to enhance security

In a statement published 27 May 2021, the Council of the EU announced it had adopted a regulation to strengthen checks of visa applicants and improve the EU’s Visa Information System (VIS), a tool Member States use to register and verify short-stay visas to enter the Schengen area. The central aims of the amending regulation are to further strengthen the security of the short-stay visa procedure; to include long-stay visas and residence permits within the VIS database; and finally, to ensure the VIS and other relevant Member State databases and systems are interoperable. (link)

Look Ahead :

–          31 May : COPEN, the Council’s working party on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters is meeting to discuss the European Arrest Warrant, recent European Court of Justice cases, and material detention conditions and procedural rights in pre-trial detention in the European Union. The full agenda of the meeting can be found here.

–          3 June: LIBE Committee meeting – MEPs will discuss the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of highly skilled employment, the Computerised system for communication in cross-border civil and criminal proceedings (e-CODEX system) (with JURI) and the Commission’s Rule of Law Report. The full agenda can be consulted here.

–          7-8 June: National Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs are meeting in Brussels to discusses issues such as: Regulation on cross-border e-Justice in Europe, Combating illegal content online, EU accession to ECHR, EPPO, Judicial aspects of the EU strategy to tackle organised crime and the EU Strategy to combat trafficking in Human Beings. The full provisional agenda can be consulted here.



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