EU strategy on criminal justice

Objectives of a common strategy

To combat crime efficiently, the criminal justice authorities of EU countries need to work together. Ultimately, in a common European area of justice national law enforcers and judiciaries will be able to trust and rely on each other.

This will increase people’s confidence in the fairness of proceedings, knowing that their rights are protected when they have to appear in court in another country, or if they fall victim to a crime.

Added value of EU rules

Action at EU level in this field is crucial for a number of reasons

* Serious organised crime is often committed across borders. To prevent ‘safe havens’ for criminals, EU countries’ laws should be more aligned

* If people can trust that their rights are respected, in all EU countries, if they are suspected or accused of a crime, they are more likely to use their right to live, work or study in another EU country

* Common rules strengthen mutual trust between the judiciaries of different EU countries. This makes cooperation and mutual recognition of decisions easier across the EU

* EU criminal law helps to prevent and punish serious offences, for example environmental crime

Protecting the rights of suspects and accused

Much progress has been made to date, as the EU has adopted 6 directives on procedural rights for suspects and accused persons as set out in the roadmap of 2009. The EU established rules on

* the right to information which applies across the EU since 2 June 2014,

* the right to interpretation and translation which applies across the EU since 27 October 2015,

* Right to have a lawyer, which applies across the EU since 27 November 2016,

* the right to be presumed innocent and to be present at trial,

* special safeguards for children suspected and accused in criminal proceedings

* the right to legal aid

Sources:

European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/criminal-justice/eu-strategy-criminal-justice_en (01.10.2020)

European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/criminal-justice_en (21.01.2020)

EU action on the rights of the child

Children’s Day is a commemorative date celebrated annually in honor of children, whose actual day varies by country.

In 1925, International Children’s Day was first problem proclaimed in Geneva during the World Conference on Child Welfare, and since then is celebrated on 1 June in most countries. Children’s day is celebrated by UN on 20th of November.

Linda Hartley, Children’s Rights

Legal basis

The rights of the child are part of human rights: rights that the EU and EU countries must respect, protect and fulfil. As laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a child is any human being below the age of 18. The Commission is guided by the principles set out in the UN Convention on the rights of the child, ratified by all EU countries.

Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union establishes the objective for the EU to promote protection of the rights of the child.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU guarantees the protection of the rights of the child by the EU institutions and by EU countries when they implement EU law. Article 24 on the rights of the child and Article 31 on the prohibition of child labour specifically cover children’s rights.

Author: Bicanski

Funding for child protection

The rights, equality and citizenship programme 2014-2020 aims to promote the rights of the child and prevent violence against children, young people, women and other groups at risk.

Child protection policies

Organisations working for and with children should be guided by child protection policies and have reporting mechanisms in place. The four standards as set out by Keeping Children Safe network provide good guidance on what policies should cover and achieve.

Sources:

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Day (10.01.2020)

European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/rights-child/eu-action-rights-child_en (01.10.2020)

Automotive industry

The automotive industry is crucial for Europe’s prosperity. The automotive sector provides direct and indirect jobs to 13.8 million Europeans, representing 6.1% of total EU employment. 2.6 million people work in direct manufacturing of motor vehicles, representing 8.5 % of EU employment in manufacturing. The EU is among the world’s biggest producers of motor vehicles and the sector represents the largest private investor in research and development (R&D). To strengthen the competitiveness of the EU automotive industry and preserve its global technological leadership, the European Commission supports global technological harmonisation and provides funding for R&D.

Why the automotive industry is important?

* Links to other sectors – the automotive industry has an important multiplier effect in the economy. It is important for upstream industries such as steel, chemicals, and textiles, as well as downstream industries such as ICT, repair, and mobility services

* Employment –around 13.8 million people work in the EU automotive sector. Manufacturing (direct and indirect) accounts for 3.5 million jobs, sales and maintenance for 4.5 million, and transport for 5.1 million

* Economy – the turnover generated by the automotive industry represents over 7 % of EU GDP

80% of the growth in the sector is expected to occur outside the EU. The EU’s efforts should focus on concluding and enforcing preferential trade and investment agreements. These will make it easier for European companies to access third markets and continue benefiting from economies of scale.

What the Commission does?

Global technical harmonisation – the Commission focuses on global technical harmonisation. Common technical requirements (UNECE framework) help reduce development costs and avoid duplication of administrative procedures. Harmonisation is key to strengthening the competitiveness of the EU automotive industry.

Source: European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/automotive_en (10.01.2020)

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12 mesi di volontariato a Salonicco – Nobody is excluded in our world

1 anno di volontariato europeo con il nostro partner greco SFA (friend of the disabled).
Stiamo cercando un/una partecipante italiano per un progetto di volontariato internazionale (ex SVE, ora Solidarity Corps). Il progetto si svolge in Grecia (a Salonicco… sì, sul mare!). Da ottobre 2020 a settembre 2021. Tutto è gratuito per il volontario: il viaggio viene rimborsato, viene fornita una stanza singola in alloggio condiviso e un pocket money mensile.

Alloggio: i volontari alloggeranno in 1 appartamento con 3 stanze, bagno, soggiorno, cucina. L’appartamento è attrezzato per soddisfare le esigenze di base del volontario. Pasti: i volontari ricevono 120 euro di indennità mensile, che saranno spesi secondo la loro volontà. Possono cucinare nel loro alloggio. Paghetta: i volontari riceveranno una paghetta di 150 euro al mese per le loro spese personali.

Formazione: i volontari parteciperanno all’arrivo e alla formazione di medio termine, organizzata dall’Agenzia nazionale. Inoltre saranno formati per il loro lavoro e potranno studiare Greco con la piattaforma online OLS.

Caratteristiche dei Volontari: Avere tra i 18 e i 30, parlare un pochino di inglese (non è necessaria una conoscenza approfondita dell’inglese o del greco!), avere tanto entusiasmo e voglia di vivere un’esperienza nuova e unica. Essere disponibili a partecipare per tutti i 12 mesi! Questo progetto è l’ideale per chi cerca un anno in cui staccare, riflettere, prendere decisioni e nel frattempo aiutare gli altri, imparare una nuova lingua e arricchire il proprio curriculum. Le selezioni vengono fatte da SFA, ma potete mandare cv e lettera di motivazione (in inglese) a info@associazionesemifaenza.com

Call sul portale ESC: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity/placement/24326_en

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Media In EU

Media freedom is a fundamental right that applies to all member states of the European Union and its citizens, as defined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as the European Convention on Human Rights. Within the EU enlargement process, guaranteeing media freedom is named a “key indicator of a country’s readiness to become part of the EU”.

The vast majority of media in the European Union are national-oriented. Some EU-wide media focusing on European affairs have emerged since the early 1990s, such as Euronews, EUobserver, EURACTIV or Politico Europe. ARTE is a public Franco-German TV network that promotes programming in the areas of culture and the arts. 80% of its programming are provided in equal proportion by the two member companies, while the remainder is being provided by the European Economic Interest Grouping ARTE GEIE and the channel’s European partners.

The MEDIA Programme of the European Union intends to support the European popular film and audiovisual industries since 1991. It provides support for the development, promotion and distribution of European works within Europe and beyond.

Press freedom and democracy

Media Freedom is inherent to the decision making process in a well-functioning democracy, enabling citizens to make their political choices based on independent and pluralistic information and thus is an important instrument to form public opinion. The expression of a variety of opinions is needed in public debate to give the citizens the possibility to assess and choose among a wide range of opinions. The more pluralistic and articulated the opinions, the greater is the legitimising effect that media has on the wider democratic political process. Press freedom is often described as a watchdog over public power, underlining its significant role as an observer and informer of the public opinion on government actions.

Freedom of expression refers back to individual journalists’, as well as to press institutions’ rights. In other words, its significance covers both the individual right of each journalist to express his or her opinion and the press’ right as an institution to inform people. To guarantee the protection of free media, state authorities not only underlie the negative obligation to abstain from intrusion, but as well to the positive commitment to promote media freedom and act as a guarantor against intrusion of public as well as private actors.

Sources:

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Media (10.01.2020)

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_freedom_in_the_European_Union (17.01.2020)

EU Symbols

The flag used is the Flag of Europe, which consists of a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background. Originally designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe, the flag was adopted by the European Communities, the predecessors of the present Union, in 1986. The Council of Europe gave the flag a symbolic description in the following terms, though the official symbolic description adopted by the EU omits the reference to the “Western world”:

Against the blue sky of the Western world, the stars symbolise the peoples of Europe in a form of a circle, the sign of union. The number of stars is invariably twelve, the figure twelve being the symbol of perfection and entirety.

— Council of Europe. Paris, 7–9 December 1955.

United in Diversity was adopted as the motto of the Union in the year 2000, having been selected from proposals submitted by school pupils. Since 1985, the flag day of the Union has been Europe Day, on 9 May (the date of the 1950 Schuman declaration). The anthem of the Union is an instrumental version of the prelude to the Ode to Joy, the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s ninth symphony. The anthem was adopted by European Community leaders in 1985 and has since been played on official occasions. Besides naming the continent, the Greek mythological figure of Europa has frequently been employed as a personification of Europe. Known from the myth in which Zeus seduces her in the guise of a white bull, Europa has also been referred to in relation to the present Union. Statues of Europa and the bull decorate several of the Union’s institutions and a portrait of her is seen on the 2013 series of Euro banknotes. The bull is, for its part, depicted on all residence permit cards.

Charlemagne

Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne (Latin: Carolus Magnus) and later recognised as Pater Europae (“Father of Europe”), has a symbolic relevance to Europe. The Commission has named one of its central buildings in Brussels after Charlemagne and the city of Aachen has since 1949 awarded the Charlemagne Prize to champions of European unification. Since 2008, the organisers of this prize, in conjunction with the European Parliament, have awarded the Charlemagne Youth Prize in recognition of similar efforts by young people.

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Symbols (10.01.2020)

Culture and sport

Cultural co-operation between member states has been a concern of the EU since its inclusion as a community competency in the Maastricht Treaty. Actions taken in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000 seven-year programme, the European Cultural Month event, and orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra.

The European Capital of Culture programme selects one or more cities in every year to assist the cultural development of that city.The European Capital of Culture programme was launched in the summer of 1985 with Athens being the first title-holder.

Football is one of the most popular sports in the European Union. Association football is by far the most popular sport in the European Union by the number of registered players. The other sports with the most participants in clubs are tennis, basketball, swimming, athletics, golf, gymnastics, equestrian sports, handball, volleyball and sailing.

Sport is mainly the responsibility of the member states or other international organisations, rather than of the EU. There are some EU policies that have affected sport, such as the free movement of workers, which was at the core of the Bosman ruling that prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on foreign players with European citizenship.

The Treaty of Lisbon requires any application of economic rules to take into account the specific nature of sport and its structures based on voluntary activity. This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, due to objections over the application of free market principles to sport, which led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs. The EU does fund a programme for Israeli, Jordanian, Irish, and British football coaches, as part of the Football 4 Peace project.

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Culture (10.01.2020)

Environment and Climate

In 1957, when the EEC was founded, it had no environmental policy. Over the past 50 years, an increasingly dense network of legislation has been created, extending to all areas of environmental protection, including air pollution, water quality, waste management, nature conservation, and the control of chemicals, industrial hazards, and biotechnology. According to the Institute for European Environmental Policy, environmental law comprises over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions, making environmental policy a core area of European politics.

European policy-makers originally increased the EU’s capacity to act on environmental issues by defining it as a trade problem. Trade barriers and competitive distortions in the Common Market could emerge due to the different environmental standards in each member state. In subsequent years, the environment became a formal policy area, with its own policy actors, principles and procedures. The legal basis for EU environmental policy was established with the introduction of the Single European Act in 1987.

Initially, EU environmental policy focused on Europe. More recently, the EU has demonstrated leadership in global environmental governance, e.g. the role of the EU in securing the ratification and coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol despite opposition from the United States. This international dimension is reflected in the EU’s Sixth Environmental Action Programme, which recognises that its objectives can only be achieved if key international agreements are actively supported and properly implemented both at EU level and worldwide. The Lisbon Treaty further strengthened the leadership ambitions. EU law has played a significant role in improving habitat and species protection in Europe, as well as contributing to improvements in air and water quality and waste management.

Mitigating climate change is one of the top priorities of EU environmental policy. In 2007, member states agreed that, in the future, 20% of the energy used across the EU must be renewable, and carbon dioxide emissions have to be lower in 2020 by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels. The EU has adopted an emissions trading system to incorporate carbon emissions into the economy. The European Green Capital is an annual award given to cities that focuses on the environment, energy efficiency, and quality of life in urban areas to create smart city.

In the Elections to the European Parliament in 2019, the green parties increased their power, possibly because of the rise of post materialist values.

Proposals to reach a zero carbon economy in the European Union by 2050 were suggested in 2018 – 2019. Almost all member states supported that goal at an EU summit in June 2019. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, and Poland disagreed.

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#Environment_and_Climate (10.01.2020)