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ZZZ – Summer Season

  • August 25th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-flag-movement.jpgStill fielding certain major initiatives – its aid to Pakistan flood victims, a new tilt at peace in the Middle East, and a plan to control criminals operating across borders – the EU announced its annual August shut-down.

OFF AT THE BEACH

The vacation season in full swing, standing-down of any avoidable activity has been made official with an announcement from EU headquarters in Brussels:

“The summer recess slows down the regular rhythm of activities of EU institutions and the production of press material. Until the end of August, the Top EU News section of this site will therefore not be updated daily, but whenever there is relevant news to report. The audiovisual material and the press releases available below will be updated regularly as usual”, it said.

Beyond that excellent leadership in work-life balance, certain work has been in train.

MOVES ON CRIME

Criminal law is one area of sovereign authority of member states they have resolutely refused to surrender to a common European jurisdiction, even in the era of free movement across open internal frontiers.

Growing sophistication of organised crime operations, and the systems set up to defeat them, have created a demand for at least extremely active cooperation, to garner the initiative.

The European Commission has now announced developments with one such move by seven states, in the area of evidence sharing.

It states:

“An investigator seeking evidence in another EU country relies on a 50-year-old patchwork of rules. They have to use various forms and procedures to obtain different evidence. The authorities across the border can ignore the request, or set their own deadline. The European Commission today adopted an opinion on a proposal by seven EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) for a European Investigation Order – a system facilitating justice authorities’ work in obtaining evidence for transnational criminal proceedings (or investigations).

“The proposal would allow authorities to request their counterparts to investigate, share and gather evidence. If a Swedish investigator, for example, is tracking criminals holed up in Spain, they can ask their colleagues to carry out a house search. The opinion published today by the Commission recognises the added value of replacing the current fragmented system for investigative measures with a single legal framework. It also notes the need for clear and detailed rules, which would be fully compliant with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. These measures would include minimum standards for gathering evidence so that its admissibility in court is beyond doubt, as well as high data protection standards for sensitive information.”

MIDDLE EAST

Optimistic declarations this week that Israeli and Palestinian delegates may meet in direct talks were being promoted by the four-member Middle East Quartet; the European Union, United Nations, Russian Federation and United States, working together for a settlement.

They have announced (20.8.10) that the principals of the group plan to meet opposite numbers from the Arab League, in New York, next month; to follow up new moves announced by the Arab Peace Initiative Committee at Cairo on 29.7.10.

They have publicly suggested that the Israelis and Palestinians should precede that by getting together, face to face, in Washington in one week’s time, on 2.9.10.

PAKISTAN RELIEF

The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, has gone to Islamabad to meet with the authorities there and  visit areas stricken in the monsoon floods.

She said fresh flooding was occurring in the drawn-out crisis, as the “full scope and scale of the disaster continues to evolve”.

Aid so far from the EU had exceeded €200 million (A$280-million; OANDA, 24.8.10).

Reference

EC, Brussels, Summer season notice 24.8.10. www.europa.eu/…, (24.8.10).

EC, Brussels, Cross–border crime: Commission issues opinion on Member States’ evidence sharing proposals. 24.8.10, IP/10/1067.

EC, Brussels, Pakistan: EU response to the monsoon flooding. 23.8.10, MEMO/10/381.

Council of the European Union, Brussels, Statement issued b y the Middle east Quartet …, 20.8.10, (OR.en), 12880/10, PRESSE 228.

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