In Spain, 9 Catalan separatists were pardoned
In Spain, 9 Catalan separatists were pardoned
In Spain, 9 Catalan separatists were pardoned

The opposition described the act as a blow to democracy

The Spanish government has unanimously approved Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s proposal to pardon nine of the politicians in prison for holding the illegal referendum on Catalonia’s independence in 2017.

They are to be released from prison after King Felipe VI signs a decree releasing them, but the Supreme Court is ready to pardon them immediately. According to analysts, this will avoid criticism of the monarch by Spanish citizens, most of whom do not approve of the amnesty, Bulgarian National Radio reported.

As an explicit condition for pardons, it is stated that the 9 politicians should not commit other crimes in the next between 3 and 6 years, otherwise their sentences will come into force again and they will be imprisoned.

In addition, the ban on holding public office remains, which has provoked an angry reaction from the Catalan government, and local Parliament Speaker Laura Boras has said she will give a formal reception in honor of her convicted colleagues.

This comes just a day after the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg approved a resolution calling for independence leaders to be released and for Spain to reform its legislation on penalties for riots against the country’s constitutional order.

The opposition, represented by the People’s Party, Citizens and Vox, called the pardons a “blow to democracy” and said it would appeal and vote no confidence in the government, and parties seeking an independent Catalonia considered them “Insufficient”.

There have already been thousands of protests against them in Madrid and other cities in the country, and the prosecutor’s office and the Supreme Court have ruled in advance that they are not advisable and will weaken the rule of law in the country.

Sources of normative standards for protection against discrimination
Sources of normative standards for protection against discrimination
Sources of normative standards for protection against discrimination

Anti-discrimination standards are contained in universal acts within the UN; EU law and acts within the Council of Europe. The progressive development of international human rights norms has led to the establishment of an independent branch of modern international law – international protection of human rights or international human rights law – international norms for protection against discrimination have become a subdivision of this branch of human rights. international law. Among the most important acts of a universal nature that have a direct bearing on the fight against discrimination are the following international treaties: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Convention on the Rights of the Child; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the UNESCO Convention on Action against Discrimination in Education. The International Labor Organization conventions, in particular the –100 Convention on Equal Pay and the Convention №111 on Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, are key to enforcing the right to equal treatment in employment.

In all these international treaties, special provisions prohibit discrimination on certain social grounds listed in each specific international treaty, as well as specific forms of discrimination. The most recent international human rights treaty, adopted at UN level, is open for signature in 2006. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCCD). Until 2000 EU anti-discrimination law applied only in the field of employment and social security and covered only discrimination based on sex. In 2000 two directives were adopted: the Employment Equality Directive introduced a ban on discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation, religion, age and disability; The Racial Equality Directive introduced a ban on discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin in employment, as well as on access to social security systems, social security and goods and services. This is a significant extension of EU anti-discrimination law, taking into account the fact that in order for individuals to realize their full potential in the labor market, they need to be guaranteed equal access to areas such as health, education and housing. Although sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disabilities and age are grounds for protection only in the field of employment, the EU institutions are currently considering a proposal to extend the protection to these grounds to include access to goods and services (known as the Horizontal Directive).

The prohibition of discrimination is enshrined in Article 14 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), which guarantees equal treatment in the exercise of the other rights provided for in the Convention. Protocol №12 (2000) to the ECHR, which has not yet been signed by Bulgaria, extends the scope of the prohibition of discrimination by ensuring equal treatment in the exercise of all rights (including rights guaranteed by national law). According to the explanatory report to the protocol, the document was developed with reasons to strengthen the protection against discrimination, which is considered a key aspect of guaranteeing human rights. The protocol was adopted in particular as a result of discussions on ways to strengthen gender equality and racial equality. The principle of non-discrimination is a guiding principle enshrined in a number of other Council of Europe documents. It should be noted that the text of the European Social Charter of 1996 guarantees the right to equal opportunities and equal treatment in the fields of employment and occupation, and protection against discrimination based on sex. Additional protection against discrimination is provided by the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents.

The Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime also provides for protection against the promotion of discrimination. The relationship between anti-discrimination standards should not be equated only with the relationship between the sources in which the rights are established. Neither EU law nor the norms of classical international law deprive national law of its purpose of building its own standards of protection of fundamental rights higher than those established in a supranational manner. The process of transposing international standards into national legislation by countries that have committed themselves to the latter is an ongoing process of interaction between legislation and law enforcement. Today, constitutional standards for the protection of human rights are largely positively aligned. The European Network of Equality Bodies takes into account the diversity of equality bodies in the Member States, identifying three types: • Predominantly tribunal-type equality bodies, which spend most of their time and resources in meetings, investigating and deciding on individual cases of discrimination before them, and in some cases also perform a number of tasks identified as primarily encouraging. type of equality bodies. • Predominantly encouraging type of equality bodies, which spend most of their time and resources supporting good practices, raising awareness of rights, developing a knowledge base on equality and providing legal advice and assistance to victims of discrimination. • Combined type of equality bodies – tribunal and promotion, which meet, investigate and decide on cases of discrimination, and participate in a number of activities to raise awareness, promote good practice and conduct research.

Anti-discrimination standards formally protect equality by prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination. Formal equality is rooted in justice. Everyone must have access to certain minimum provisions, after which this is regulated by non-discrimination. This aspiration is limited by the fact that it can coexist with significant levels of inequality. However, EU equal treatment directives allow for specific measures to ensure that “full equality in practice” is achieved. This reflects the pursuit of real equality, rooted in delivering results for disadvantaged groups.

Second High-level Inter-parliamentary Conference on Migration and Asylum
Second High-level Inter-parliamentary Conference on Migration and Asylum
Second High-level Inter-parliamentary Conference on Migration and Asylum

News | European Parliament

The second edition of the High-level lnterparliamentary Conference on Migration and Asylum in Europe will take place on Monday, 14 June 2021 in the European Parliament (remote meeting via video conference).

The Conference will take place under the joint auspices of the European Parliament and of the Portuguese Parliament and is organised in cooperation with the German and Slovenian Parliaments.

 

The aim of the Conference is to promote a broad dialogue on the management of migration in Europe, deepening the inter-parliamentary process launched in November 2020, when the first edition of the event took place. The meeting can help define comprehensive and sustainable approaches to migration challenges, which have been further heightened by the pandemic.

The conference will bring together political leaders, policymakers and also practitioners. A particular focus will be the external dimension of asylum and migration policies: how to build comprehensive partnerships with countries of origin and transit, tackling root causes of migration, and promoting a stable socio-economic environment in third countries.

The US State Department accused three more Bulgarians of corruption
The US State Department accused three more Bulgarians of corruption
The US State Department accused three more Bulgarians of corruption

The US State Department has accused three other Bulgarians of corruption after announcing sanctions against Vasil Bozhkov, Delyan Peevski and Ilko Zhelyazkov. Former Deputy Minister of Economy Alexander Manolev and former Chairman and Secretary of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad Petar Haralampiev and Krassimir Tomov have also been identified as linked to corruption. Haralampiev and Tomov were charged in Bulgaria for allegedly selling Bulgarian passports.

“Today we are publicly announcing the names of former Bulgarian officials Alexander Manolev, Petar Haralampiev, Krassimir Tomov and Delyan Slavchev Peevski, as well as the current Bulgarian official Ilko Dimitrov Zhelyazkov in connection with their involvement in serious corruption,” the state said in a statement. US Department of State, distributed by the US Embassy in Bulgaria.

In their official capacity as Deputy Minister of Economy, Chairman of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad and Secretary General of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, respectively, Manolev, Haralampiev and Tomov participated in corrupt activities that undermined the rule of law and the credibility of Bulgarian society in their democratic state institutions and social processes, including using its political influence and official powers for personal gain, the statement said. It says that as a Member of Parliament, Peevski used Zhelyazkov, an employee of the National Bureau for the Control of Special Intelligence Means, as an intermediary and accomplice in the trade in influence and bribery in order to protect from public control and influence on key institutions and sectors in Bulgarian society.

The US Treasury Department also sanctioned Peevski, Zhelyazkov and Bulgarian oligarch Vasil Bozhkov, along with 64 organizations owned or controlled by Bozhkov and Peevski, for their role in public corruption under Decree 13818, which builds on and complements the Magnitsky Global Law for accountability for human rights violations, the statement said.

This announcement is made pursuant to Article 7031 (c) of the Law on the State Department, Foreign Activities and Related Program Budget Funds for 2021. In addition to Manolev, Haralampiev, Tomov, Zhelyazkov and Peevski, the names of Manolev’s wife have also been made public. – Nadia Manoleva and his children Alexa, Yoanna and Dimitar; Haralampiev’s wife and son – Veselka Haralampieva and Pavel Haralampiev, Peevski’s minor son and daughter and Zhelyazkov’s daughters – Vanya Ilkova Zhelyazkova and Roza Ilkova Zhelyazkova. This announcement makes it inadmissible for Manolev, Haralampiev, Tomov, Zhelyazkov and Peevski, as well as the closest members of their families, to enter the United States.

Today’s act reaffirms our commitment to supporting the rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions in Bulgaria, the statement said. It states that the United States supports all Bulgarians working for the progress of reforms, and the State Department will use its powers to promote accountability for corrupt individuals in the region and globally.

Hero Mustafa after the sanctions for corruption: No one is above the law!

 Оur focus is on corruption. This was said by the American ambassador Hero Mustafa, who met last night with Bulgarian journalists after the decision of the USA to impose sanctions against Vasil Bozhkov and Delyan Peevski.

The meeting was also attended by Paul Ahern, a senior official in the Treasury Department in Washington. He explained that the case was not a matter of US political action, although it was a month and a half before the parliamentary elections. “This is not a political action. There was no way of knowing that there would be an election in July when we launched this investigation. When we gathered the evidence, we knew we had to act the moment we finished work,” Ahern said.

Before the information was made public, the US ambassador met with many people in Sofia – ambassadors from US allies, the Bulgarian president, government officials, leaders of various parties, including Boyko Borissov, and civil society activists. “We have not met with Chief Prosecutor Geshev. It is not on our agenda yet,” the US ambassador said.

Asked whether the United States was ready to provide all available information to the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office, Ahern said the institution would only have access to the official statement.

“They can see what we say about these people. In terms of bilateral cooperation, we will be happy to work with foreign jurisdictions as much as we can,” the American explained. He said the study used all sources of information – open data, journalistic publications, data from foreign partners and information from US institutions.

“I want to emphasize what we have done so far. (On our list) We have a judge, a former government official, an oligarch, a politician, a businessman… When we have corruption at all these levels, we are not the ones who will bring about change. This is you. This is you. it is up to you as a country to deal with it. We are your partner, friend and ally, “the ambassador said.

Asked by Mediapool what signal the United States was sending to Bulgaria’s political elite, Ambassador Mustafa explained: “We hear from everyone how important the fight against corruption is in Bulgaria. It is not aimed at a specific person, party or institution. Corruption is endemic. There is also corruption in the United States. I have never said that we are perfect, but the message is that no one is above the law. The pursuit of corruption is a task for all parties. If the people say that they want Bulgaria to have a viable democracy with a thriving economy and to be a leader in the region, this cannot happen with corruption. The money involved in this case is significant. They come from taxpayers. From you. The message to every politician is to listen to the people. Make all the necessary reforms so that corruption can really be prosecuted. “

It is not yet clear what assets will be frozen in the United States. Paul Ahern has repeatedly refused to answer the question of how long the study took before the US government made that decision. “We will invite all jurisdictions that have such laws to join us in these actions,” Ahern said, adding: “These sanctions are designed to change behavior. Anyone who does not want to be hit by these sanctions. “Anyone who deals with these companies or people is at risk of being sanctioned,” Ahern said.

As for me, the Bulgarian, let me paraphrase … Reading these messages for a change towards a living democracy … I feel the shameful feeling of envy. Yes, I envy the whole American people and every American individually.

“This idea is absurd in the 21st century” – about who foreign agents are in Russia (2)
“This idea is absurd in the 21st century” – about who foreign agents are in Russia (2)
“This idea is absurd in the 21st century” – about who foreign agents are in Russia (2)

Yekaterinburg lawyer Yulia Fedotova explained who can be included in this list

3. What does this mean?

This means that those who fall under the characteristics of a foreign agent (individuals, legal entities, non-profit organizations, public organizations) are obliged to voluntarily surrender to the Ministry of Justice (it is he who deals with all regulation in this area) by submitting an application for inclusion in the relevant register, and doom themselves for a huge amount of strange paperwork, reports and other obscure actions.

An individual, for example, is obliged to indicate the presence of a status when applying to state bodies, local governments, public associations, educational organizations. Such a person cannot be appointed to positions in state bodies and local self-government bodies and is obliged to provide each post on Facebook with an indication that the information has been disseminated by a foreign agent.

NGOs and public organizations are required to submit tons of reports and also indicate everywhere that they are foreign agents on any materials distributed.

The media, when mentioning foreign agents, distributing their materials, are also obliged to indicate that the person / NPO / legal entity belongs to foreign agents.

4. Responsibility

Provided for criminal and administrative.

If an individual “does not surrender” to the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Justice somehow learns about the transfer of 5 hryvnias to him, the person faces an administrative fine of 30,000 to 50,000 rubles. For failure to indicate their status on Facebook – from 10,000 to 30,000 rubles with or without confiscation of the subject of an administrative offense. That is, they may well take away your smartphone, from which you write posts (Art. 19.7.5-4 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation).

For the dissemination of information about / from foreign agents in the media without a corresponding indication, a fine is also provided for – for citizens in the amount of 2,000 to 2,500 rubles; for officials – from 4000 to 5000 rubles; for legal entities – from 40,000 to 50,000 rubles (amendments signed by the president, part 2.4 of article 13.15 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation).

For non-notification of their activities, NCOs also face a fine – from 300,000 to 500,000 rubles, for disseminating information without marking – from 300,000 to 500,000 rubles with confiscation of the subject of an administrative offense (Article 19.34 of the Administrative Code).

A foreign media outlet-foreign agent can also be fined from 500,000 rubles to 5,000,000 rubles in case of “gross” violations.

In the event of repeated commission of offenses in this area, criminal liability is already provided for foreign agents and heads of organizations under Art. 330.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Individuals face up to 5 years in prison, the rest – up to 2 years.

5. Summary

The legislation on foreign agents was written by someone who hates humanity very much. In addition to the fragmentation of norms, finding them in different acts, cumbersomeness, indigestibility, I can also note the absolute absurdity. The very idea of ​​the formation of foreign agents is absurd, since in the 21st century, in a transparent world with the Internet, it is actually aimed at prohibiting any contact, exchange of experience, information and assistance with other countries.

Read part one: https://europeantimes.info/2021/06/01/this-idea-is-absurd-in-the-21st-century-about-who-foreign-agents-are-in-russia-1/

“This idea is absurd in the 21st century” – about who foreign agents are in Russia (1)
“This idea is absurd in the 21st century” – about who foreign agents are in Russia (1)
“This idea is absurd in the 21st century” – about who foreign agents are in Russia (1)

Yekaterinburg lawyer Yulia Fedotova explained who can be included in this list

The boring term “foreign agent” sounds rather ominous. I remember Soviet films about spies and traitors. It is not exactly clear who it is, but it must be someone bad. The lack of understanding is also aggravated by the absence of any clear regulatory framework governing the activities of such “agents”. Lawyer Yulia Fedotova helped to figure it out.

1. Normative acts:

Federal Law “On Non-Commercial Organizations”;

Federal Law “On Measures of Influence on Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation”;

RF Law “On Mass Media”;

Administrative Code of the Russian Federation, Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

2. Who can become a foreign agent?

The main features are foreign funding + active social and political activity. They can be:

2.1) non-profit organizations that receive money or property from foreign sources and participate, including (but not only) in the interests of these sources, in political activities carried out on the territory of the Russian Federation.

What kind of “foreign sources”? The list is extensive. From just foreign citizens to foreign countries. Also, a Russian (individual or legal entity) will be considered a “foreign” source of funding if they themselves receive money from foreigners and act as intermediaries in their transfer to NPOs.

Political activity in the law is understood almost as any socially useful one, a long list of areas is given (for example, “activities in the field of socio-economic and national development of the Russian Federation, the development of the political system, the activities of state bodies”). The forms of such activity are varied – from rallies to “the formation of socio-political views and beliefs” and discussion of lawmaking activities.

“A fund for helping homeless animals can be recognized as a foreign agent, if it proposes changes to the legislation, in the event that a couple of hryvnias are received from Ukraine.” Julia Fedotova

At the same time, the law does not formally include activities in the field of science, culture, health care, social sphere, protection of flora and fauna, charity as political activity. However, given the unrestrictedness of the concept of “political activity”, nothing prevents from recognizing as foreign agents, for example, charitable foundations for helping homeless animals, which in one way or another propose appropriate changes in the legislation in the field of protecting the rights of tailed beasts, if they receive a couple of hryvnias from Ukraine.

2.2) unregistered public organizations.

Non-agents can also be public organizations that are not duly registered as legal entities. The scheme is the same as for NPOs, just information about them will be contained in different registers.

2.3) individuals.

There are two interesting points. An individual can be recognized by the media and can be recognized as “just a foreign agent”.

a) an individual who distributes information intended for an unlimited number of persons, including on the Internet, can be recognized as a media outlet performing the functions of a foreign agent. Conditions – receiving funds from abroad or from intermediaries. There is no need to engage in “political activity”.

Well, that is, it is enough just to conduct social networks and receive from a penpal from Britain, for example, a transfer for a birthday.

“Theoretically, any grandmother who posts recipes for pickling cucumbers in Odnoklassniki and who has received money from her sister from Ukraine can become a foreign agent” Julia Fedotova

b) an individual can be “just a foreign agent”.

Conditions – political activity + receiving assistance from foreigners (both monetary and any other).

About “political activity” – the same rules as for NGOs. That is, it turns out that if I, as a lawyer, prepare a complaint to the ECHR for money in the interests of a foreign citizen against Russia, I can be a foreign agent.

2.4) foreign legal entities.

A foreign agent can be a legal entity registered in a foreign state, or a foreign structure without the formation of a legal entity, regardless of the organizational and legal form. This also includes foreign media and Russian legal entities established by them.

Conditions – this legal entity disseminates information and receives foreign funding. The goals of such a legal entity do not matter.

Read part two: https://europeantimes.info/2021/06/01/this-idea-is-absurd-in-the-21st-century-about-who-foreign-agents-are-in-russia-2/

“Extremist, undesirable, involved”: a Yekaterinburg lawyer dismantled banned organizations
“Extremist, undesirable, involved”: a Yekaterinburg lawyer dismantled banned organizations
“Extremist, undesirable, involved”: a Yekaterinburg lawyer dismantled banned organizations

Yulia Fedotova explained for participation in which communities punishment is threatened and talked about what undesirable organizations are in Russia.

In recent months, there has been no less talk about banned and undesirable organizations in Russia than there have been controversies about new strains of coronavirus. But if in the second case everything is clear, then it is almost impossible to understand what the extremist, undesirable, prohibited, involved, liquidated, foreign agents and other communities are.

Meanwhile, the list of such organizations that cannot be mentioned publicly is multiplying, confused, and it becomes more and more incomprehensible who is who and who and how it is impossible to mention. However, we turned to Yulia Fedotova, a Yekaterinburg lawyer, with a request to tell what kind of communities they are and how to distinguish them from each other.

Let’s try to figure it out.

To begin with, the basic thesis: organizations are registered as legal entities (with OGRN, TIN, KPP and other strange abbreviations), included in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, and unregistered. Based on this, we build understanding further.

1. Foreign agents – they were mentioned in the material under the link.

2. Extremists.

The Federal Law “On Counteracting Extremist Activity” suggests several options for interaction between the state and “organizations”:

  1. liquidation – for legal entities;
  2. b) prohibition of activity – for those who are not registered as a legal entity.
  3. It is carried out by the court at the request of the prosecutor’s office or the Ministry of Justice.
  4. After filing a claim, the activities of the organization are suspended until the court makes a decision. Continued participation in the activities of the suspended association constitutes an administrative offense (Article 20.28 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation, punishment in the form of a fine from 500 to 2000 rubles).
  5. Based on this, there are extremist organizations and communities.

Extremist organizations are public or religious associations or other organizations in respect of which a court has passed a final decision on the liquidation or prohibition of activity. These are only those organizations that were included in the list of the Ministry of Justice.

Participation in them after official publication on the website provides for criminal liability and imprisonment for a term of two to six years. The criteria for participation are rather vague. The Supreme Court clarifies that participation is understood as “the commission by a person of intentional actions related to the continuation or resumption of the activities of this organization (conducting conversations in order to promote the activities of a banned organization, direct participation in ongoing events, etc.)”. Taking into account the fact that most of the extremist crimes are committed on the Internet, I suppose that both being in thematic communities and publishing information about an organization, for example, can be considered a crime. 2.2. Extremist communities are organized groups of persons created for the preparation or commission of extremist crimes (crimes committed based on political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity, or out of hatred or enmity against any social group).

In fact, this is everyone who has not yet managed to get into the list of the Ministry of Justice. For participation in their activities (which, again, is not clearly defined), imprisonment for a term of two to six years is also provided.

Recently, the term “implicated” (citizens) has almost appeared in the law.

The State Duma in the third reading adopted amendments, which banned the election of citizens “involved in the activities of extremist / terrorist organizations.”

In addition to the actual participants, “involved” also means “members, employees, other persons involved in the activities of an extremist or terrorist organization”. Who is a member (sorry)? What is the difference between a member and an employee and a participant? Who are all these people? At the same time, in order to treat “other persons”, it is enough to show “an expression of support by statements, including statements on the Internet, as well as“ other assistance to activities (provision of funds, property, organizational, methodological, advisory or other assistance) to those goals and (or) forms of activity (including individual events) of the relevant organization ”or“ other actions ”. And this must be done one year before and three more years after the entry into force of the court decision. I think there is no need to explain that this law was written under the FBK (included in the register of organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent, and without five minutes an extremist) and its supporters.

“Unwanted”.

Formally, these are only foreign or international organizations that are included in the special list of the Ministry of Justice. There are “only” 31 organizations, but in fact they are involved only for any (generally for any) contacts with “Open Russia” in its various forms. It is enough to comment on the relevant media, attend an organized event, make a post or repost. Despite the fact that the Russian organization has no connection, except for the similarity of the name, with the foreign one.

Participation in the activities of such an organization implies administrative responsibility for the first time (a fine from 5,000 to 15,000 rubles). Repetition entails criminal liability under Art. 284.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The current edition provides that responsibility comes after the commission of two administrative offenses during the year – on the third. Recently, the deputies proposed reducing the number of administrative ones to two and imprisoning people for a term of one to four years, and for leadership – from two to six. Currently, the punishment is uniform – from two to six years in a colony.

To be honest, it’s hard for me to summarize what has been said. I can only say that vague legal norms, which actually persecute the collective expression of views, are evil, and stupid and repressive laws adopted in batches have little to do with jurisprudence.

Combating Corruption In The EU
Combating Corruption In The EU
Combating Corruption In The EU

 Background For The Round Table June 18 2021

The European Union is under siege from populism, nationalism, corruption, nepotism and opaque links between politicians, industry, oligarchs and financial moguls, all whilst struggling with the challenges caused by the rapid changes of the world power architecture. It is now time for the European Union, its leaders and institutions to show integrity, determination and devotion to protect and fight for the common values and principles laid down in the provisions of the Treaty of the European Union.

On 18th June 2021 from 2pm to 4pm CET the CEIPA video conference – “Corruption Inside-out – Fraud, bribery, and misuse of EU funds: a call for transparency, accountability, proper scrutiny and sanctions” will take place via Zoom. A lively debate with policymakers, researchers, NGO’s and journalists about current anti-fraud schemes and the call for transparency, accountability, proper scrutiny and sanctions.

Corruption, fraud and money laundering are omnipresent in our societies on all levels. They weaken democracy, the rule of law and the public trust in European Union’s institutions. They make corrupt oligarchs richer and more powerful than ever. Corruption constitutes a threat to security, and facilitates all forms of organised crime. It adversely affects economic growth and international trade, as well as hampering the functioning of the European internal market.

So far, where there have been breaches of law and misconduct by the EU member states the standard reactions have been “diplomatically” well embedded in a number of reports of the European Commission, or countered by weak monitoring mechanisms without evident sanctions, or creation of yet more administrative committees on all levels in all EU institutions, or inconsequential individual follow up actions on highest levels (“behind closed doors”).

Corruption goes hand in hand with autocracy, a diminishing impact of judiciary and parliamentary control as well as the weakening of rule of law in general.

The latest estimates regarding the cost of corruption across the EU sets the loss to GDP somewhere between €179 billion and €950 billion each year. The European Green Party has for several years spent considerable effort collecting, analysing and disclosing data on corruption and the misuse of public funds. The most recent report based on detailed research undertaken by independent sources, as well as by EU institutions, concludes that across the EU member states €904 Billion is lost each year due to corruption, fraud and organised crime.

According to this report the major European champions in corruption are:

Romania 15,6 % of the GDP 38,6 billion € annually

Bulgaria 14% of the GDP 11 Billion € annually

Greece 14% of the GDP 34 Billion € annually

Croatia 13,5 % of the GDP 8,5 billion € annually

Italy 13 % of the GDP 237 Billion € annually

Latvia 13 % of the GDP 3,4 Billion € annually

Slovakia 13 % of the GDP 11 Billion € annually

Poland 12,6 % of the GDP 65,7 Billion € annually

Czech Republic 12 %of the GDP 26,7 Billion € annually

According to reports released by Eurobarometer and various EU sources, 76 % of the population in the EU member states believes that there is wide spread corruption in their country of residence, especially amongst the political parties, governing bodies and institutions in charge of public subsidies.

The 2017 the Eurobarometer report states:

“Corruption undermines citizens’ trust in democratic institutions and the rule of law in particular, as it negatively affects the principles of legality and legal certainty. Tackling corruption can contribute significantly to promoting growth, stimulating competition and investment, and enhancing the beneficial effects of the EU’s internal market. Fighting against corruption is one way in which to enhance mutual trust between the Member States. A strong anti-corruption effort helps to strengthen good governance and democracy and build transparent, effective and accountable institutions. At the same time, such an effort creates an environment which supports investment and boosts entrepreneurship. There is no room for complacency or inaction within the EU.  All Member States, regardless of their levels of corruption, must play an active role in this work together with the European institutions. As emphasised by the European Parliament in its resolutions, there is also a need to ensure the accountability and integrity of the EU institutions. The importance of joint efforts and responsibility in anti-corruption measures cannot be over-stated. The international community has recognised the damaging effects of corruption on economic and social development. In the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the aim is to reduce corruption and bribery substantially in all their forms.”

Subsequently, the question must arise as to the efficacy of protective and regulative measures against corruption and fraud provided by EU institutions, such as the EC representations in EU member states (especially where such blatant cases of fraud and corruption continually occur),  OLAF, EUROJUST, EUROPOL, the directorates general of the EC responsible for dispersal of funds, the Budget Control Committee of the European Parliament, the Office of the Ombudsperson and finally the newly created EU Office of the European Prosecutor.

All aforementioned structures are supposed to protect the common good and the integrity of the EU institutions, as well as prevent and fight corruption and the continual misuse of European funds. They must bear responsibility and be held accountable for cementing the systemic weakening of the EU administration by not effectively counteracting fraud, corruption and the misuse of public funds but above all for indirectly contributing to rapidly growing public mistrust in the European project. Many independent observers and insiders are expressing fears that the European Commission is on the way to becoming a secretariat, cash machine and executive agency which is steered by corrupt oligarchs and governmental structures.

The EU Council and the European Commission are well aware of the fact that taxpayers’ money has for years been used in large quantities through fraudulent claims, in order to subsidize national organisations covering activities of leading politicians and their cronies, and/or oligarchs sparking populism and anti-EU sentiments.

Subsequently a considerable number of communications, declarations and legal frameworks have been enacted to fight corruption on the EU and global level, but unfortunately without expected results.

The European Union has a general right to act, by way of setting strong fundamental principles in the field of anti-corruption policies – as defined by the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Article 67 of the TFEU spells out the Union’s obligation to ensure a high level of security, by way of preventing and combating crime. Article 83 of the TFEU lists corruption as one of the particularly serious cross-border “euro-crime” crimes. Corruption may have adverse effects on the functioning of the internal market, on competition, and on the use of EU resources. It can also be used as a tool for developing networks of organised crime. The Commission has been given a political mandate to fight against corruption and to develop a comprehensive EU anti-corruption policy, in close cooperation with the Council of Europe.

The EU Anti-Corruption Report, published in 2014, provided an important step in drawing attention to the wide spread corruption in the European Union. In spite of the intention to publicise such reports periodically, the European Commission has since failed to publish a further report. As one EC official, informally expressed: “…the issue of corruption is too sensitive for some member states…”

The newly appointed European Commission in 2020 has declared the fight against the corruption as one of its priorities.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Corruption is a threat to democracy and to the rule of law and it has no place in the EU institutions. By setting out our plans for an anti-corruption review at EU level, we are fulfilling our international commitments and we are strengthening the EU’s role in the global fight against corruption. I am looking forward to the active participation and cooperation of all the EU institutions in this process”.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “The fight against corruption is fundamental for upholding the rule of law. This year we presented the first annual Rule of Law report, where the fight against corruption is a key part of the evaluation. This ensures that the fight against corruption will also be a key part of the deepened rule of law dialogue that we are now having at EU and at national level. We are committed to seeing the rule of law upheld in every corner of the EU and we will continue to do the maximum we can to fight corruption.”

In spite of the above intentions and policy declarations the EU seems continually to be unable to prevent, combat and effectively sanction against corruption and the misuse of EU funds. It appears to be unable to undertake the necessary organisational, structural and political reforms that are required in order to make the EU administration effective in dealing with such serious crimes.

Public protests against government corruption and misuse of EU subsidies are frequent in different parts of the European Union. Corrupt governments are confronted with growing dissatisfaction and protests by citizens who want transparency and rule of law. Citizens of affected countries are increasingly frustrated by seemingly ineffective support from Brussels and its EU institutions.

*The European Democracy Action Plan, taken together with the new European rule of law mechanism, the new Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Media and Audiovisual Action Plan as well as the package of measures taken to promote and protect equality across the EU, will be a key driver for the new push for European democracy to face the challenges of the digital age. The commitment to democracy is also embedded in the EU’s external action, and a central pillar of its work with accession and neighbourhood countries.

The European Democracy Action Plans is one of the major initiatives of the Commission’s Work Programme for 2020, announced in in the Political Guidelines of President von der Leyen.

Civil Liberties Committee endorses EU Digital Covid Certificate | News | European Parliament
Civil Liberties Committee endorses EU Digital Covid Certificate
Civil Liberties Committee endorses EU Digital Covid Certificate | News | European Parliament

News | European Parliament


The certificate will facilitate free movement without discrimination and contribute to the EU’s economic recovery.

The Civil Liberties Committee has endorsed the EU digital Covid Certificate package with 52 votes in favour, 13 votes against and 3 abstentions (EU citizens) and with 53 votes in favour, 10 votes against and 5 abstentions (third country nationals).

The EU Digital Covid Certificate will be issued by national authorities and be available in either digital or paper format. A common EU framework will allow member states to issue certificates that will be interoperable, compatible, secure and verifiable across the EU.

More information here

Quote

Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) said: “The EP started negotiations with very ambitious objectives in mind and has managed to achieve a good compromise through painstaking negotiations. The text voted today will ensure that freedom of movement will be safely restored across the EU as we continue to fight this pandemic, with due respect for the right of our citizens to non-discrimination and data protection.”

Next steps

The text will be tabled for vote at the June I plenary session (7-10 June 2021). It then has to be approved by the Council and be published in the Official Journal. The Regulation is expected to apply from 1 July 2021.

Why did the case of the murderer Petrus Arcan mark the treatment of information on minors?
Why did the case of the murderer Petrus Arcan mark the treatment of information on minors?
Why did the case of the murderer Petrus Arcan mark the treatment of information on minors?

DISCLOSURE

See initial in Spanish HERE

In the area of Justice, you will find remedies that have fun with the same part just like alchemy since they will be capable of working wonders and, furthermore, since they will be like articles that support the nation’s appropriate framework. These formulas could be the so-called burden of evidence.

The duty of proof is really essential. Everyone is innocent until proven responsible. It is actually understanding called the concept of presumption of purity.

An individual commits a criminal activity, whoever burden of evidence can it be to prove it?

Not at all the accused himself.

This is the part of the prosecution to show and substantiate the facts with witness testimony and evidence a variety.

To phrase it differently, the plaintiff gets the so-called burden of research. Both in municipal and administrative litigation, it’ll be the plaintiff, and in unlawful legislation, it’s the average man or woman prosecutor or the unique or general public prosecution.

But once a reporter is sued for a published report, who bears the duty of evidence?

In cases like this, it is to the reporter although the media socket to show which they acted with homework, which means that they made every work to have and validate the disputed information.

They could not be obliged to prove that whatever they published corresponded in to the absolute truth, nevertheless they must show that what they published during the time ended up being, for many of them, the facts, good analysis obtained. After having made every energy to cross-check that information.

This is just what the Constitutional Court features thought as truthful information.

The big courtroom has in fact recognised that, on many events, it’s virtually not practical understand the truth inside fast time agreed to reporters.

It’s for that reason establish it is adequate when it comes to journalist, after having made every work, after having “acted with as a result of diligence”, to trust the knowledge he/she makes available to site visitors or audience corresponds towards the truth. When it is often shown that she or he acted with diligence and effort within the quest for the news, the reporter is generally exonerated from obligation.

However, it just isn’t constantly the scenario. Since there is no rule without exemption. You’ll manage to show, because a reporter, that you’ve really acted with all the current diligence worldwide, and remain condemned with this.

For example? Every thing regarding minors.

Rules end you against getting photographs of minors or reproducing his or her names. Regulations with regards to Legal cover of Minors, specifically, is extremely explicit. Its purely prohibited.

THE MOLDOVAN PETRUS ARCAN

Assuming this really is damaged, then comes the conviction, because happened regarding Petrus Arcan, the Moldovan murderer who, in 2003, attacked a villa maybe not far from below, in Pozuelo, killed the attorney Arturo Castillo, left their particular partner really injured and assaulted their two daughters.

The Petrus Arcan scenario noted a pre and post for news, so far as information on minors may be included, because most of the published the violence to which both women have been subjected and, although a lot of wouldn’t supply their companies and surnames, they performed have the ability to determine them. Some even ventured to publish their particular photographs.

Since this couldn’t be carried out, publications, radio and tv stations was in fact sued because of the wife and daughters about the lawyer Castillo for unlawful disturbance into the private and family members privacy in connection with two minors. Statements ranging from 6,000 euros, in the case of small news, to 150,000 euros, with regards to big news.

The architect for this technique ended up being, it must be stated, one of the most brilliant solicitors in this area, Gregorio Arroyo, who for many years was indeed the appropriate representative of this today defunct Grupo 16.

The news defended by themselves.

Many argued your companies involving ladies had received for them because of the police on their own and, therefore, originating from an authorised supply, they considered which they had been exempt from virtually any obligation.

Other people embraced the classic explanation they’d acted with research, this means that. they’d taken every step to show that information had been true.

To no avail.

In these cases, whenever minors are participating, the ability to privacy prevails within the to information.

The old stating that lack of knowledge of the legislation doesn’t exempt from conformity was put on these.

What the law states about the Legal Protection of Minors also extra legislation establishes extra protection, in terms of advertising and information, both for youngster sufferers and child alleged offenders.

Inside value, the reporters, in attempting to show which they had acted vigilantly, offered all the evidence needed for their belief.

The legal activities recorded by lawyer Gregorio Arroyo whenever you consider the Petrus Arcan circumstance up against the press had been won. Without exemption.

He’d discovered it easy for reporters plus the media defendants showing they had neglected to abide by what the law states and also to carry the duty of proof, which had fallen to him, to a successful summary.

And he won, for that reason establishing the principal precedent.

Before this instance, the Madrid Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office had claimed many rulings into the protection connected with image and privacy of minors, which aided to organize exactly what occurred later with Arcan.