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Patients getting treatment abroad [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for patients getting treatment abroad.

Do you suffer from a medical condition that cannot be treated in your home country, or you have to wait too long for treatment? You might be interested to know whether you can access other EU countries’ health systems and if your home insurance will cover at least a part of the costs of getting treatment abroad.

EU rules on cross-border healthcare could come to your aid in such a situation. They grant patients the right to benefit from planned medical treatment, such as specialist consultation, surgery or treatment for a specific medical condition, in another EU country on the same terms and at the same cost as people who live in that country. While some countries may have restrictions in place for access to treatment for organisational reasons, these should not discriminate against patients coming from another EU country.

Surgeons team working with Monitoring of patient in surgical operating room. breast augmentation.

© satyrenko / Fotolia

And what about the issue of reimbursement? If the treatment is covered by your insurance, but is not available at all, or not in time, in your home country, your health insurer is obliged to reimburse your expenses up to the level of costs you would have normally incurred in your home country.

National Contact Points for planned medical treatment, either in your home country or in the country where the treatment is available, will help you identify the health provider offering the treatment you need. Your home National Contact Point also provides information about reimbursement options and about whether you need to ask for prior authorisation.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/20/patients-getting-treatment-abroad-what-europe-does-for-you/

People in an emergency situation [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people in an emergency situation.

Hopefully it will never happen to you, but many people find themselves in emergency situations while travelling abroad, because they have a car accident, need medical assistance or fall victim to a crime, for instance. The EU has set up an emergency phone number to enable you to get help quickly: 112. You can dial it anywhere in Europe for free to summon the local police, ambulance or fire brigade to your immediate assistance.

Meanwhile, since March 2018, all new cars have to comply with EU legislation and be equipped with the eCall on-board emergency call system. The system will be activated by sensors if you have a serious car accident and will automatically call the 112 number, communicating your car’s location, the time and the direction of travel, even if you are unconscious or unable to call. You can also trigger it manually by pushing a button in the car, for instance if you witness a serious accident. It is estimated that the system could save up to 2 500 lives a year.

Man dialing emergency (112 number) on smartphone. Woman had heart attack and is lying on the floor.

© vchalup / Fotolia

If you fall sick while travelling in Europe, EU legislation gives you the same right to state-provided healthcare as people insured in the country concerned, and if you carry the European Health Insurance Card, you can avoid paying upfront in most EU countries.

Another example of EU provision for people in emergency situations is the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which supplies coordinated assistance to victims of natural and man-made disasters. This can include health assistance from the European Medical Corps, who send doctors and medical equipment in response to emergencies in and outside the EU.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/20/people-in-an-emergency-situation-what-europe-does-for-you/

Small farmers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for small farmers.

Most of the farms in the EU are small, although the term includes a wide diversity of operations. Although small farms produce only a portion of the total EU agricultural output, their contribution in creating rural employment, supporting rural societies and landscapes, and ensuring that traditional and local production continues, makes them a cornerstone of European agriculture.

Aerial view of the landscape in mountains.

© ronedya / Fotolia

Because small farms are generally run by the family, who often consume what is produced themselves, they have few assets and few opportunities to innovate. They generally have very little bargaining power in the food supply chain. However, many small farmers are flexible enough to diversify their farm activities, or take on another job to increase their income.

As a small farmer, the EU recognises your important role and grants smallholdings a simplified scheme that cuts the administrative burden for accessing EU direct payments. This scheme is implemented in more than half of the EU countries, including those where small farms outnumber large ones. EU rural development policy also benefits small farmers by financing rural investments that improve the quality of life in the countryside, diversify rural economies, and offer services in remote areas that are important to the many elderly and female farmers among smallholders.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/19/small-farmers-what-europe-does-for-you/

Film makers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for film makers.

If you go to the cinema more than twice a year, you are already doing better than the average European. If so, you must have noticed that American productions make up three quarters of the films on offer. This situation is disconcerting, not least because US-based companies produced ‘just’ 789 feature films in 2016, for instance – compared to 1 740 European productions in the same period…

Child playing at home. Girl holding retro camera. Cinema concept

© Sunny studio / Fotolia

The strong US presence in the EU film market explains why public support is provided to assist European cinema in gaining a competitive edge. Since 2013, state aid rules allow the level of support to film production, distribution and promotion to reach 50 %, and up to 60 %in the case of co-productions funded by more than one EU country. By contrast, there are no limits on aid for script writing or film-project development, or for difficult audiovisual works, as defined by each EU country.

Creative Europe – the EU programme supporting the cultural and creative sectors until 2020 – will dedicate more than €800 million to cinema. In addition, €210 million has been made available since 2016 for a new financial guarantee facility, which should make it easier for small companies to access bank loans.

Helping overcome distribution barriers for European films is one of the goals of the European Parliament’s LUX Prize, awarded annually since 2007. The winner does not receive a direct grant. Instead, the three films in the final stage of the competition are subtitled in the 24 official EU languages and are screened in more than 40 cities and at 18 festivals, allowing many Europeans to see them.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/19/film-makers-what-europe-does-for-you/

U.S. withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

United states and Iran - National flags on Brick wall with nuclear icon

© Stockninja / Fotolia

President Donald Trump announced on 8 May that the United States was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, ignoring calls from other signatories to preserve the 2015 deal, which lifted sanctions on Teheran in return for measures scaling back its nuclear ambitions. The decision paves the way for reinstating US sanctions against Iran, which will also affect non-US companies doing business with that country. President Trump justified the move by saying that the deal did not go far enough in removing the threat posed by Iran to the United States and its allies in the Middle East.

This note offers links to reports and commentaries from some major international think-tanks and research institutes on the Iran nuclear deal and the US decision.

After Trump’s Iran decision: Time for Europe to step up
European Council on Foreign Relations, May 2018

Point of view: What Germany, France and Britain should do after Trump nixes the Iran deal
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, May 2018

Removing the stabilizing block of the Iran deal: Trump toys with global equilibrium
German Marshall Fund, May 2018

The Iran deal: Withdrawal symptoms
Atlantic Council, May 2018

Debating the Iran deal
Brookings Institution, May 2018

Trump decision on Iran will squeeze US allies in East and Central Europe
Atlantic Council, May 2018

Trump pulled out of the Iran deal: What now?
Council on Foreign Relations, May 2018

The President’s speech and the prospects of an Iranian-Israeli war
Atlantic Council, May 2018

The impact of the Iran nuclear agreement
Council on Foreign Relations, May 2018

Will Trump’s decision on Iran end Europe’s servility?
Egmont, May 2018

EU has little choice but to try to keep the Iran deal alive
Centre for European Reform, May 2018

The strategic fallout of U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal
Rand Corporation, May 2018

Saving the Iran Nuclear Deal Without the U.S.
Crisis Group, Ma 2018

The view from the capitals: Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal
European Council on Foreign Relations, May 2018

Post Iran-deal: Israel in the post-American era
Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, May 2018

US-Europe unity needed on Iran
Transatlantic Institute, May 2018

A new Israeli-Arab axis against Iran
Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, May 2018

By pulling out of nuclear deal, Trump hands gift to Iranian hardliners
Chatham House, May 2018

Iran-Abkommen ohne die USA
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, May 2018

Europe should stand its ground after U.S. Iran deal pullout
Carnegie Europe, May 2018

The world faces dangerous reality with Iran nuclear deal left for dead
Carnegie Europe, May 2018

What to do the day after killing the Iran deal
German Marshall Fund, May 2018

L’Organisation Badr en Irak: L’ancrage étatique d’une milice pro-iranienne
Groupe de Recherche et d’Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité, May 2018

Netanyahu and the Iran nuclear deal: Using half-truths to support a lie
Instituto Affari Internazionali, May 2018

Accord nucléaire iranien: Les sanctions américaines et la désillusion des entreprises étrangères
Institut des relations internationales et stratégiques, May 20189

Between a rock and a hard place: Europe’s uncertain role in Middle Eastern geopolitics
Istituto Affari Internazionali, May 2018

EU policy options in case of U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal
Carnegie Europe, April 2018

Europe should strike a tough pose with Trump on the Iran nuclear deal
European Council on Foreign Relations, March 2018

The art of sticking with the nuclear deal: Why Europe should defy Trump on Iran
Centre for European Policy Studies, February 2018

Germany should mediate between Iran and Israel
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, February 2018

What to know about the protests in Iran
Chatham House, January 2018


Read this briefing on ‘U.S. withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/18/u-s-withdrawal-from-iran-nuclear-deal-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2018

Written by Piotr Bakowski, Marc Lilienkamp and Rosamund Shreeves,

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)

Although prohibiting discrimination and protecting human rights are key elements of the EU legal order, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons persists throughout the EU, taking various forms including verbal abuse and physical violence. The first ever EU-wide survey on the extent and nature of discrimination, violence and hate speech experienced by LGBT people across the EU, conducted by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in 2012, found that almost half of the respondents had felt personally discriminated against or harassed within the previous year, whilst a quarter said that they had been attacked or threatened with violence in the past five years. Lesbian women (55 %), young people (57 %) and poorer LGBT people (52 %) were more likely to be discriminated against, whilst trans persons were shown to experience the highest levels of discrimination, harassment and violence amongst all LGBT subgroups. One of the key findings was that 90 % of such incidents go unreported to the authorities. A study issued for Parliament in 2018 has quantified the serious impact of discrimination on LGBTI individuals and wider society (including increased health risks, estimated lost earnings of €19-53 million and a GDP loss of €25-71 million) and highlighted the uneven protection in the current EU anti-discrimination legislation.

Although sexual orientation is recognised in EU law as a ground of discrimination, the scope of the provisions is limited and does not cover social protection, healthcare, education and access to goods and services, leaving LGBTI people particularly vulnerable in these areas. Moreover, EU competence does not extend to recognition of marital or family status. In this area, national regulations vary, with some Member States offering same-sex couples the right to marry, others allowing alternative forms of registration, and yet others not providing any legal status for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples may or may not have the right to adopt children and to access assisted reproduction. These divergent legal statuses have implications, for instance, for partners from two Member States with different standards who want to formalise/legalise their relationship or for same-sex couples and their families wishing to move to another Member State. In practice, lesbian and gay couples can encounter problems getting their partnership and rights recognised in another EU country. For instance, two women legally married in the Netherlands may lose pension, inheritance, next-of-kin, or child custody rights when moving to, say, Italy, Latvia, or Romania.

During its eighth term, the European Parliament has adopted a number of resolutions strongly condemning homophobia, highlighting discrimination and calling for further legislation and action to protect and extend LGBTI rights:

  • Regarding the EU legislative framework, it has called for monitoring to ensure proper transposition and implementation of existing EU legislation and reiterated its support for a proposed new directive, which would protect against discrimination outside the labour market, but on which the Member States have as yet been unable to agree.
  • On family and free movement issues, Parliament has encouraged the EU and the Member States to ‘reflect on the recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union as a political, social and human and civil rights issue’ and called for further action to ensure that same-sex couples and their families can truly exercise their right to free movement across the EU, including automatic cross-border recognition of adoption orders, without discrimination.
  • In March 2018, Parliament’s Annual resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU condemned all forms of discrimination against LGBTI people, including the practice of LGBTI conversion therapies and the pathologisation of trans people, and stressed the urgency of tackling increasing levels of hate speech and hate crime. Its resolution on gender equality in the media sector in the EU, adopted in February 2018, puts forward concrete proposals for combating hate speech and harmful stereotypes.
  • Parliament has also drawn attention to the human rights situation for LGBTI people outside the EU and the need to ensure that their situation is taken into account in asylum procedures.

To mark this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, the Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights – an informal forum for MEPs – is organising a specific event to highlight the situation of LGBTI people seeking asylum in Europe.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) notes that, in addition to the risks faced by refugees at large, LGBTI refugees also face a series of risks that that are unique to sexual minorities. In 2017, the first annual report from the UN’s Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity gave an overview of the current global situation. It documents widespread physical and psychological violence against LGBTI persons in all regions — including murder, assault, kidnapping, rape, sexual violence, as well as torture and ill-treatment in institutional and medical settings — and highlights that displaced LGBTI persons may face continued or additional discrimination in the country in which they seek asylum or when they are internally displaced within their country of origin. UNHCR guidelines on interpreting claims to refugee status based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity were adopted in 2012.

Nevertheless, in 2017 the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s review of the current situation in the EU for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex asylum seekers, found that although international and EU law guarantees safety to those fleeing persecution, in practice LGBTI people are not receiving the protection they need. There are considerable differences between procedures in the EU Member States in terms of how they take account of claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity and only some EU Member States are applying the UNHCR guidelines. Advocacy organisations, such as ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe, have also called for further action to ensure that LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees are given more effective protection in the EU and that the proposed new package of measures on the Common European Asylum System takes the specific situation of LGBTI people into consideration.

For its part, the European Parliament is preparing a number of amendments to this new migration legislation, to ensure that the specific problems encountered by LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers are taken into account in procedures for assessing asylum claims and arrangements for reception and resettlement. Parliament has already adopted a resolution highlighting the need for asylum professionals, including interviewers and interpreters, to receive proper training on the needs of LGBTI people and for LGBTI-sensitive reception facilities across all Member States. Its resolution of February 2017 on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2014-2015 also calls for refugees who are victims of violence based on [their] sexual orientation or gender identity to be given support ‘at all stages of the migration process’, including measures such as immediate relocation if their safety cannot be guaranteed, mental health support and immediate gender identity recognition for the duration of asylum procedures.

See also our briefing on The rights of LGBTI people in the European Union.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/16/international-day-against-homophobia-transphobia-and-biphobia-2018/

Migration & asylum: Projects & funding

Written by Joanna Apap, Eulalia Claros and Maria-Margarita Mentzelopoulou,

Areas targeted by main migration funding programmes

Areas targeted by main migration funding programmes

Funding instruments in the field of migration and asylum management cover, on the one hand, different EU policy fields, such as enlargement, neighbourhood, development cooperation and common foreign and security policy, as well as, on the other, international projects such as those managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at a more global level. The legal basis of each funding instrument provides for the range of its geographical and thematic coverage. In addition, interaction takes place between the different areas covered by the thematic and geographic programmes and other external financing Instruments. The funding landscape changed in 2013 with the new Financial Regulation applicable to the EU budget. This enabled the European Commission to create and administer Union Trust Funds in the field of external action, from 2014: these include multi-donor trust funds for emergency, post-emergency or thematic actions such as the Bêkou and the Madad Fund. The European Parliament welcomed this development in an April 2013 resolution, considering that it would allow the EU to raise the visibility of its external action and to have greater control over the delivery chain of such funds.
Following the Valletta Summit in November 2015, an Emergency Trust Fund for stability, to address the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa was created. To meet the increased migratory challenges, EU funding for the 2015-2018 period has more than doubled. More-over, the crisis in Syria and in the neighbouring region led to the creation of different funding instruments, by the EU and the international community. EU agencies active externally are also funded through the EU budget. For the 2015-2018 period contributions for support to such EU agencies and their operations reaches €1.4 billion. Funding is one of the main instruments for EU cooperation with third countries in the area of migration, asylum and borders.

This paper aims to map and clarify the different funding instruments established for migration-related projects, financed by the EU as well as by the international community.


Read this briefing on ‘Migration & asylum: Projects & funding‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/16/migration-asylum-projects-funding/

Peace and Security in 2018: Overview of EU action and outlook for the future

Written by Elena Lazarou,

white pigeon in flight on a white background with an olive branch

© fotomaster / Fotolia

The promotion of global peace and security, following the model of its own peace project, is a fundamental goal and central pillar of the external action of the European Union (EU). Both within and beyond the EU, there is a widespread expectation among citizens that the Union will deliver results in this crucial area. Yet, the deteriorating security environment of the past decade has posed significant challenges. Following the release of its Global Strategy in 2016, and in line with the wording and spirit of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU has been intensifying its work in pursuit of peace and security in a number of key policy areas. In this respect, 2017 was a year of implementation and of transforming vision into action.

The world has become more peaceful in recent centuries. Europe in particular has experienced the longest period of peace in its history, not least thanks to a regional network of international organisations, of which the EU is a major example. Today, peace is defined in a positive way, not only as ‘the absence of war’, but also in terms of the quality of government, the free flow of information and low levels of corruption. In this context, out of the 39 most peaceful countries in the world, based on the 2017 Global Peace Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace, 22 are EU Member States. Nevertheless, the instability that characterises the geopolitical environment has translated into a sharp deterioration of peace in the EU’s neighbourhood and has challenged its internal security.

The over-arching objectives of the EU guide it in all facets of its activity in this area, including common foreign and security policy (CFSP); democracy support; development cooperation; economic, financial and technical cooperation; humanitarian aid; trade; and neighbourhood policy. As foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty, the 2016 Global Strategy introduced several elements to refine and improve the EU’s efforts, including the promotion of resilience and capacity-building in the world. This approach is reflected in the EU’s external policies.

As far as development is concerned, a significant share of EU aid goes to fragile states and to issues related to securing peace. In 2017 the EU committed to a ‘new consensus on development’, which emphasises the role of development cooperation in preventing violent conflicts, in mitigating their consequences and in aiding recovery from them. The new consensus clearly focuses on fragile and conflict affected countries, which are the main victims of humanitarian crises. On the ground, the EU has been able to strengthen the nexus between security, development and humanitarian aid through the implementation of comprehensive strategies, for example in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel.

With the launching of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Defence Fund and other such initiatives, 2017 saw remarkable progress towards a more autonomous and efficient EU common security and defence policy (CSDP). Of all the policy fields in the area of peace and security, this is the one that has enjoyed the greatest support from EU citizens (75 %) for more EU spending. Through the CSDP, the EU also runs 16 missions and operations, making it one of the UN’s main partners in peacekeeping. These elements of ‘hard power’, together with the EU’s long-standing experience in the practice of soft power, form the backbone of its action for peace and security.

Looking to the future, the complexity of the global environment is expected to increase.  At the same time, an analysis of ongoing EU legislation indicates that the EU is aiming to strengthen its presence and efficiency in the area of peace and security. The discussions on the funding of specific initiatives in the context of the 2019 annual budget and the post-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) will focus on streamlining the EU’s various programmes and instruments, allowing for sufficient flexibility to respond to unforeseen threats, as well as implementing innovative financial instruments. Underlying the quest for flexibility, efficiency and innovation, is the strategic goal to empower the EU in its global role as a promoter of peace and security, while adapting to the new realities of the international order.


Read this study on ‘Peace and Security in 2018: Overview of EU action and outlook for the future‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/15/peace-and-security-in-2018-overview-of-eu-action-and-outlook-for-the-future/

GDPR goes live: A modern data protection law

Written by Shara Monteleone,

Aimed at strengthening citizens’ rights uniformly while reducing burdens for companies and public entities, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies fully as of 25 May 2018. The long-awaited (and often feared) law is part of a reform package adopted in 2016 to foster trust in a digital age. The recent revelations on misuses of data show how the underlying values of the GDPR standards are essential for democracy.

Strengthening individual rights while ensuring the free flow of data

GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation. Vector illustration.

© andriano_cz / Fotolia

Personal data are increasingly collected and processed – often automatically – for many different purposes. Besides the benefits for society and individuals, data processing raises concerns for individual rights, including privacy and non-discrimination. In order to allow people to make, as much as possible, their own decisions regarding the use of their data and to avoid possible abuses by those who handle the data, clear and strict rules are necessary. The advance of digital technologies, the emergence of ‘Big Data’ and of a data-driven society – where almost every daily activity requires the flow and combination of data – made it urgent to update the EU 1995 data protection rules, with new ones, better suited to the digital age.

A long tradition of strong data protection

GDPR: main changes

Defined as an evolution, rather than a revolution, the 2016 GDPR builds on its 1995 predecessor, Directive 95/46/EC and on the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice (CJEU) which repeatedly confirmed the importance of a high level of data protection for a democratic society. The GDPR (rapporteur: Jan Albrecht, Greens/EFA, Germany) was adopted as part of a wide-ranging reform package, which also includes a directive on data processing for law enforcement purposes. A set of new rules on e-Privacy and on data protection within the EU institutions are (with some delay) also under consideration.
The GDPR promises to improve both the internal market dimension and protection of citizens, by providing greater control over their personal data in the digital era and by establishing legal consistency. While its strict rules are often viewed as a severe challenge penalising companies, which may even threaten to stop serving EU citizens, they are also promoted as an advantage for compliant companies, including SMEs, enabling them to increase users’ trust and to compete globally. The underlying idea of the GDPR is to modernise the principles established by the 1995 directive: obligations and sanctions must be taken more seriously now, but they are also scalable (e.g. they may vary based on the violation or on company’s size).
The regulation is directly applicable in the Member States, although they have some discretion (e.g. on the age of a consenting child) and the Commission needs to set out details. Consistency across the EU should level the playing field for companies operating in several Member States, allowing them to deal with a single authority and uniform procedures (one-stop shop).

Safeguards

Data are considered personal when they can identify a person (including ID card number, IP address, location data of a phone). Rules do not apply to anonymous/mized data (if anonymisation is irreversible). Data processing is allowed if the conditions indicated are satisfied, i.e. with the subject’s informed and unambiguous consent or for other legal grounds (e.g. the performance of a contract; a legal obligation; or legitimate interests, overriding the interests or fundamental rights of the data subject. Also, data must be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in an incompatible way; GDPR generally prohibits the processing of sensitive data, but exceptions are set out.

Increased accountability but also reduced burden for companies

The GDPR applies to all companies operating in the EU, wherever they are based (to non-EU companies too). Companies have to inform individuals about the collection, purposes and use of data and are responsible for demonstrating their compliance with the rules. They have to keep a record of their data-processing activities and must take appropriate technical and organisational measures to make data secure, and inform both individuals and the competent DPA, if data are accidentally or unlawfully destroyed, lost or accessed by unauthorised persons, with a risk to individuals’ rights (‘breach notification’).

Sanctions and other enforcement mechanisms

Fines up to 4 % of a firm’s total worldwide annual turnover may accompany or replace corrective measures (as warnings or orders) adopted by national supervisory authorities (DPAs) in case of some infringements. As for the remedies, data-subjects can lodge a claim in front of empowered DPAs or national courts. At EU level, a new board for national supervisory authorities is established: the EDPB.

Data transfers to third countries

Data transfers may take place (as in the 1995 directive) only if the third country can ensure an adequate level of data protection, assessed in light of all the circumstances including laws in force. According to the CJEU, this requirement should be read in light of the CFR, which justifies limitations to data protection rights if provided in law, if strictly necessary and proportionate to objectives of general interest. Alternative tools include a simplified process for binding corporate rules; standard clauses approved by the Commission and a certification mechanism. Moreover, it is clear that Europe is influencing the global standards for privacy.

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal

Recent revelations about the misuse of users’ data, have raised criticism in Europe, and revealed connections between unlawful data processing and disinformation/manipulation of data.

Commissioner Věra Jourová promised an EU-wide investigation, and to leverage, for the future, the measures offered by the GDPR. The need to fully protect citizens’ personal data was also stressed at the March European Council. The EP President confirmed commitments to investigate these alleged misuses of data. As FB/CA are certified companies under the EU-US Privacy Shield, the LIBE committee has proposed a draft resolution on the adequacy of this framework. During the EP’s April plenary session MEPs called for a strong European position and insistently invited FB’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in the EP to give clarifications. The Article 29 Working Party deemed FB’s apologies insufficient and established a Social Media Working Group. The European Data Protection Supervisor, in an opinion on online manipulation and personal data, underlined that what happened was not a mistake, but the result of a predominant business model, that might need to be changed. Finally, some experts see this data misuse not as a data breach, but due to features of FB (and similar). The really big change would be around enforcement: the EU has had long-established rules, but it lacked the teeth to impose compliance. This will finally come with the GDPR.


Read this At a glance on ‘GDPR goes live: A modern data protection law‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/15/gdpr-goes-live-a-modern-data-protection-law/

People living on islands [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living on islands.

People living on islands face a number of challenges. In most cases, islands are not self-sufficient in agricultural and industrial products or tertiary sector services. As the majority of products and services have to be transported to islands, islanders have to pay considerably higher prices for these goods, adding to their cost of living. Travelling to other destinations may be expensive and may take a long time as islands may be quite remote. Job prospects can be limited.

Mykonos island in Greece

© Panos Karas / Shutterstock.com

Many islands are located on the periphery of a Member State, or constitute border regions, placing considerable limitations on their potential for economic growth. They usually possess limited public resources in health and education. In addition, the EU’s southern islands have seen an influx of migrants, while lacking the resources needed for their accommodation or integration. Islands are usually reliant on imported fossil fuels and dependent on mainland energy networks. They have fragile ecosystems.

The EU plays an active role in helping people in all EU areas to improve their living conditions through the use of various programmes and actions. These focus mostly on the areas of innovation, sustainable management of natural resources, investment in renewable energy and support for small and medium-sized companies. A number of other EU funds can further contribute to the support of these regions in the areas of immigration, education, culture, etc. In addition, EU regulations allow Member States to organise public services to ensure regular connections with island territories.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/13/people-living-on-islands-what-europe-does-for-you/