Germany takes over Council Presidency, sets out ambitions for European police partnership Germany has taken over the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council from 1 July. Among the Council’s priorities is the intention to establish a new ‘European police partnership’ (EuPP). The Council’s ambitions (link) include:
- Better use of existing information exchange instruments
- Strong partnerships within and towards police authorities
- Expanding Europol as a central office for the European police
- EuPP ‘data days’ in which national police authorities make cross-border commitments to improve data files and data quality
Commissioner warns against ‘predictive policing’ in AI
Speaking at the European AI Forum this work, the European Commission Vice-President for Digital Policy, Margrethe Vestager, warned against the potential issues of using certain AI applications in Europe. She highlighted ‘predictive policing’ techniques that may target people belonging to certain ethnic groups, saying that any use of AI that leads to discrimination would be unacceptable. Some organisations have already called for a ban on the use of predictive policing technologies, including Access Now (link) and the European Digital Rights group (link).
The European Commission will publish its planned next steps regarding AI in early 2021.
EMPACT presents results in fighting organised crime
The EU’s operational mechanism to fight organised international crime, EMPACT, has published its 2019 results (link). Last year, EMPACT’s all-EU efforts generated significant results, including 8000 arrests, 6000 weapons seized and €77m worth of criminal assets frozen and sealed.
Commission gathers views on crime prevention and domestic violence
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the effectiveness of the European Crime Prevention Network. The consultation (link) asks stakeholders whether enough is done at a European level to prevent criminal activity and whether more should be done to support national and local crime prevention activities.
A Commission roadmap has been opened on violence against women and domestic violence (link). The EU will assess whether EU legislation has helped prevent and combat domestic violence, and whether there are gaps in the current legislation.*
Finally, the Commission has published its timeline for an evaluation of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement (CEPOL) (link). The evaluation will take place during the course of 2021.
*Roadmaps are documents used by the Commission to describe a policy issue, outline possible options for EU action, and set out the Commission’s strategy going forward. They are produced at an early stage in the EU policy process.
Civil Liberties Committee discusses rule of law
MEPs in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee discussed the establishment of an EU Mechanism on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (DRF) on 29 June (link). The European Parliament is preparing a report that will call for a comprehensive DRF to coordinate policies and ensure the application of European rights and values.
In parallel, the European Commission is preparing its first annual rule of law report, which will be published in September (link). The report will cover significant developments in Member States relating to the rule of law, including the independence of justice systems and the anti-corruption framework.
Belgium: Belgian authorities will open an investigation into allegations that an MEP, who has accused police officers of using racist violence against her, insulted the police (link).
Slovenia: Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and police director Anton Travner have resigned following police raids on houses of a number of government officials in an investigation of the purchase of medical ventilators (link).
France: Police have cracked an encrypted telephone system used for organised crime, resulting in over 700 arrests (link – paywall).
Norway: The Government has proposed the abolition of the lower retirement age for some professions, including the police (link).
6 July: European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee discusses internal and external border issue
7 July: EU Home Affairs Ministers discuss a ‘European police partnership’
7 July: Council of Europe webinar on fighting systemic racism: instrument and tools (link)