The European Cybercrime Centre starts working

The European Commission announced that on 11 of January it will take place the official opening of the European Cybercrime Centre established at the European Police Office, Europol in the Hague (the Netherlands). Investigations will focus into online fraud, child abuse online and other cybercrimes that regularly involve hundreds of victims at a time, and suspects in many different parts of the world.

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New strategy to enable customs to better tackle risks associated with goods being traded in international supply chains

The European Commission presented a strategy which involves more rational use of resources, better quality and availability of trade data, and deeper partnership with trade and international partners in order to enable customs to better tackle risks associated with goods being traded in international supply chains. In 2011, EU customs processed nearly 300 million customs declarations.

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New EU report listing the top cyber threats and their trends in 2012

The EU’s cyber security agency ENISA released the Cyber Threat Landscape analysis of 2012, summarising over 120 threat reports. The Threat Landscape also report analyses the “cyber enemy”; identifying and also listing the top ten (out of a total of sixteen) threats in emerging technology areas.

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Adopted the new Eastern Partnership Police Cooperation Programme

The European Commission adopted a new programme to support cooperation on police services between the EU and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) neighbouring countries. The Eastern Partnership Police Cooperation Programme is designed to reflect the required reforms of the law enforcement sector to support progress towards deep and sustainable democracy within the European Neighbourhood region.

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The Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme has been properly put in place

The second EU-US review of the implementation of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) shows that more than two years after its entry into force, this Programmes and its safeguards have been properly put in place. Nevertheless, the review pointed out that the on-going process of deleting data older than 5 years is an issue that requires further monitoring.

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The Council approved to strengthen the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) capacity to tackle fraud

The political agreement already reached between the European Parliament and the Council to reform the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has been officially ratified by the Council. The main objectives of the reform are to increase the efficiency of OLAF's investigation, to strengthen cooperation between the office and the competent authorities of the member states and third countries, and to increase OLAF's accountability.

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Obstacles for full recognition of reciprocal visa exemption for EU citizens still remain in the U.S. and Canada

The European Commission has adopted its seventh report on breaches of the principle of visa reciprocity in third countries. This principle provides that those countries whose nationals do not require visas to enter the European Union grant the same right to nationals of all Member States.

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MEPs called for common EU technical and security standards for card payments

The European Parliament adopted a resolution which calls for future EU rules to make paying cheap, easy and safe card payments. According to MEPs, common EU technical and security standards would make card payments easier to handle, and fees charged for handling them should reflect real costs.

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New international Protocol signed by the EU to stop illicit trading of tobacco products

The European Commission announced that on behalf of the EU and its member states it signed the Protocol on the Elimination of the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. It was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) with the EU acting as one of the Parties. The Protocol contains provisions on the control of the supply of tobacco products, and is an important part of a comprehensive tobacco control policy.

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Rules on public procurement need to be changed to tackle the mafia in the EU

The new special committee on organised crime in the European Parliament proposed to include a Union-wide definition of mafia-related crimes, the possibility of seizing criminal assets and using them to benefit the community, new rules on public procurement and the creation of an EU prosecutor, among other things, to tackle the mafia.

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The EU institutions approve the new Computer Emergency Response Team against cyber threats

The European Commission announced the successful pilot scheme with regard to the functioning of the Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERT-EU. For this reason, the Vice-President Neelie Kroes assured that the EU institutions can now count on a permanent CERT to deal with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats against them.

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The EDPS raised concerns on the proposed access to EURODAC data by law enforcement authorities

The opinion adopted by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) shows its concerns on certain aspects of the amended Commission proposal on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of the fingerprints of asylum seekers, in particular, with regard to the access to EURODAC data by law enforcement authorities. For instance, if a fingerprint is found at a crime scene, asylum seekers can potentially be identified through EURODAC data while other individuals cannot.

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