Connect with us

European Commission

Victor Shokin files complaint with European Commission over 2016 firing

Graham Paul

Published

on

Victor Shokin, the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General who played a prominent role in a number of scandals over the extent of the United States’ influence over domestic Ukrainian issues, has filed a complaint with the European Commission, asking that the institution recognize that his rights were violated when he was fired in March 2016 after less than 14 months in post.

The submission is Shokin’s latest attempt to secure justice for what he sees as his unlawful 2016 dismissal by then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. After exhausting all available legal mechanisms in Ukraine, Shokin filed a complaint against Kyiv with the European Court of Human Rights in 2017, a case which is still ongoing. In this most recent attempt to seek redress, Shokin argues that his dismissal violated a number of his rights, including his right to work and his right to a fair trial, and that the case violated Ukraine’s right to self-determination as well.

The application, sent to Commissioner European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness, is certain to draw renewed attention to a saga which played a significant role in former US President Donald Trump’s first impeachment and at times threatened to derail the 2020 presidential election in the United States. While much of the circumstances surrounding Shokin’s dismissal are shrouded in controversy, one central element is unquestioned by all sides—US President Joe Biden, then the vice president under the Obama administration, encouraged Poroshenko to fire Shokin, including by suggesting that dismissing the top prosecutor could unlock $1 billion in financial assistance from Washington.

US officials have argued that they were dissatisfied with Shokin’s progress cracking down on corruption and pointed out that other countries and international bodies, including the EU, had also advocated for Shokin’s sacking. Shokin, on the other hand, maintains that he was forced to resign after he started investigating the Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma, where Joe Biden’s son Hunter was a member of the board of directors until 2019.

However, Shokin’s recent application to the European Commission focuses less on his theories about why he was fired and more on his belief that US officials’ call for his dismissal constituted “interference in internal affairs of Ukraine by a foreign state”. European officials’ first task will undoubtedly be to determine whether the European Commission has the jurisdiction to hear Shokin’s appeal, as the former prosecutor believes they do under the Association Agreement which Ukraine and the EU ratified in 2014.

EU

Civil protection: Council adopts new rules to strengthen disaster response

EU Reporter Correspondent

Published

on

The Council today (11 May) adopted a regulation to strengthen the EU civil protection mechanism. The new rules will allow the EU and the member states to better prepare for natural and man made disasters and to respond faster when they strike, including in cases which affect a majority of member states simultaneously, such as a pandemic. The text also sets out the funding of the civil protection mechanism in the context of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027.

The proposed rules will allow the European Commission to address gaps in the area of transport and logistics, and, in cases of urgency, directly procure certain additional rescEU capacities. These rescEU capacities, as well as those hosted by member states, will be fully financed from the EU budget.

Prevention and preparedness will also be improved under the proposed regulation. The Commission, in co-operation with member states, will define and develop EU disaster resilience goals in the area of civil protection

The text sets out a total of  €1.263 billion in funds for the 2021-2027 period. It also includes an amount of up to €2.56bn to implement the civil protection related measures to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis foreseen in the EU recovery instrument. This is an increase of over three times as compared to the 2014-2020 budget. It reflects the strengthening of the EU's collective response to disasters, including the recent establishment of a reserve of capacities (rescEU), the reinforcement of the European civil protection pool and the improvements in disaster prevention and preparedness.

Background

The EU civil protection mechanism was first established in 2001 and it coordinates the response to natural and man-made disasters at the EU level. Its objective is to foster cooperation among national civil protection authorities, increase public awareness and preparedness for disasters and enable quick, effective, coordinated assistance to affected populations.

The EU civil protection mechanism includes a European civil protection pool. This is a voluntary pool of capacities pre-committed by member states for immediate deployment inside or outside the EU. The civil protection mechanism was last amended in 2019, when an additional reserve of resources, called rescEU, was created to provide assistance in situations where overall existing capacities are insufficient.

Visit the meeting page

Continue Reading

Africa

Vice President Schinas and Commissioner Johansson participate in ministerial conference on migration management with African partners

EU Reporter Correspondent

Published

on

Today (11 May), Promoting our European Way of Life Vice President Margaritis Schinas and Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, will take part virtually in a ministerial conference on migration management gathering Interior ministries from EU Member States, the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, the Chairs of the Rabat Process and the Khartoum Process and partner countries in Africa. Organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the event will focus on two main areas in the EU's migration partnership with African partners: the management of irregular movements, including border management and return; and new opportunities for legal migration. Senior officials from the African Union, the European Commission and the European External Action Service, Justice and Home Affairs Agencies, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will also participate.

Portugal's Home Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita and Commissioner Johansson will hold a press conference after the meeting at +/- 14h30 CET.

Continue Reading

Economy

European Year of Rail: Connecting Europe Express will travel across 26 countries in 36 days

EU Reporter Correspondent

Published

on

On Europe Day (9 May), the Commission announced the route and timetable of the Connecting Europe Express, as part of the European Year of Rail 2021. Beginning its journey on 2 September in Lisbon and stopping in more than 70 cities in 26 countries, the train will link the Portuguese, Slovenian and French Presidencies of the Council of the EU, arriving in Paris on 7 October. The special train will demonstrate the power of rail to connect people and businesses, and the importance of EU infrastructure policy in making this possible.

Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said: “Crisscrossing the continent, from Lisbon to Bucharest and from Berlin to Paris, the Connecting Europe Express will follow routes that bind us together – whether countries, businesses or people. While a symbol for connectivity, this train also serves as a reminder that we still have a long way to go and much work to do before rail becomes the transport option of choice for Europeans. Welcome the Connecting Europe Express as it stops at a station near you and join the events taking place around the continent.”

The project is a unique endeavour, involving the European Commission and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European rail operators, infrastructure managers and numerous other partners at EU and local level. At each of the stops, events and other activities, adapted to local COVID-19 measures, will shine a light on the key role that rail plays for our society, but also on the challenges that rail must still overcome to attract more passengers and freight. You can have a look at the main stops or at the full map of the route here, and watch Commissioner Vălean's video message. Find more details here.

Continue Reading

Twitter

Facebook

Trending