Commission consults how to facilitate citizens the recognition of public documents

The European Commission is firmly committed to removing the obstacles faced by citizens who do not live in their country of origin. As part of its concern, the Commission has presented a policy paper with several options on easing the free circulation of documents that are relevant for citizens, such as birth certificates or property deeds, and has launched a consultation on this matter which will be opened until 30 April 2011.

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Institutions reach an agreement on citizens' initiative

European institutions meeting in the official trialogue for the citizens' initiative reached an agreement on the evening of 6 December about the formal requirements to be met by this new legislative instrument. This new procedure created by the Lisbon Treaty will allow EU citizens to formally request the Commission to legislate in one particular subject where it has the competence to do so.

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New rules for international divorce and separation get ahead in 14 Member states

EU Justice ministers from 14 Member states reached a political agreement regarding some rules which will legal certainty to international couples wishing to divorce. Thanks to these rules, if the spouses agree, they will be able to choose to a certain extent the law applicable to their divorce or legal separation.

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Europe raises the voice to fight violence against women

25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and also the first day of a conference on Violence Against Women organised by the European Commission. The This Conference, which aims to draw attention to this prevalent and often under-recognised form of crime and its severe consequences, followed the Summit of EU Women Ministers on the same topic organised by the Belgian Presidency on 24 November.

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Parliament welcomes “three strikes” and personal searches exclusion from ACTA

The European Parliament has voted favourably to a resolution on the adoption of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In this resolution, however, the Parliament asks the Commission to confirm that ACTA’s implementation will have no impact on fundamental rights and data protection, on the ongoing EU efforts to harmonise intellectual property rights enforcement measures, or on e-commerce.

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Council reaches a political agreement on rules against trafficking of human beings

Negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached on 24 November a political consensus on the text of the Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protection of victims. This legal provision constitutes the first agreement between the Council and the European Parliament on an equal footing in the area of substantive criminal law after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

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Commission makes final call for full implementation of 116 000 hotline for missing children

14 Member States still lack to activate the missing children hotline 116 000 which offers help, support and a potential lifeline for missing children and their parents. This fact has been highlighted by the European Commission in the occasion of the celebration of the Expert Conference “Vulnerable Children on the Run, A European Challenge” hosted by Belgian Presidency.

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EDPS calls for an ambitious and affective reform of data protection legal framework

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, and Assistant Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli held a press conference on 15 November about the future of the EU legal framework for data protection, addressing in particular the European Commission's recent communication on a data protection reform strategy. They highlighted the need for an ambitious reform and called for an effective data protection scheme in the European Union.

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Parliament debates on law enforcement measures against child pornography

European Parliament held on 15 November a preliminary debate within the Civil Liberties Committee, about the proposal for Directive on sexual abuse of children and child pornography. MEPs stressed the need to overcome some difficulties about this regulation based on Member States' differing sensitivities and traditions, specially in aspects related to web access blockage.

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OLAF and national customs cooperation to dismantle Spain's biggest counterfeit tobacco network

Spain's biggest ever operation against counterfeit tobacco has led to the seizure of 90 million fake cigarettes and the arrest of six men. The investigation saw the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) working closely with Spanish Customs to break up one of the largest tobacco rackets in Europe and prevent the loss of 10 million euros in tax revenue.

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EU Court declares data publication of CAP beneficiaries partially illegal

The European Court of Justice has ruled on the cases presented by two German applicants who were granted aids from CAP funding and whose data where published in the German public site. Tribunal puts into balance the right for public disclosure of data related to public spending at the right for data protection, and concludes by declaring invalid certain provisions of Regulation Nº 1290/2005 and the entire Regulation Nº 259/2008.

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Making citizens' initiative a simple and clear tool for EU democracy

The four rapporteurs who are drafting the report on the application and putting into practice of citizen initiative have presented their conclusions to the European Parliament  Constitutional Affairs Committee. Among the suggestions made by MEPs and debated within the Committee are the early check of initiatives the reduction of the number of Member States which should be represented as well as the requirement for ID identification of signatories.

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