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Migration situation on the Canary Islands: Committee debate

EU Reporter Correspondent

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Today (1 March), MEPs will assess the situation on the Canary Islands, following the surge in migrants’ arrivals in the last months and the limited reception capacity.

The Civil Liberties Committee will discuss the latest developments with Commissioner Ylva Johansson, President of the Canary Islands Ángel Víctor Torres and a representative of the NGO Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR).

According to the Spanish Government, 23 023 migrants and asylum-seekers landed on the archipelago last year irregularly from Africa by boat (compared with 2 687 in 2019). Most of them arrived in the last few months of 2020, leaving reception centres overwhelmed. Combined with the public health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this led to the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation and sparked some protests among the local population.

When: Monday, 1 March, from 16h50 to 18h20

Where: European Parliament in Brussels, József Antall building, room 4Q2 & via remote participation.

You can follow the meeting live.

Background

According to UNHCR data, up to 81% of migrants arriving by boat on the Canary Islands are men, mostly from Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. The sea crossing from the African coast can be as short as around 100 km, but the strong currents make it a perilous journey. According to Missing Migrants, in November 2020 alone, the month with most arrivals, over 500 people lost their lives trying to make it to the Canary Islands.

National and regional authorities are speeding up the construction of emergency accommodation, but in the meantime, people are being housed between makeshift camps and tourism resorts, mostly empty because of the pandemic.

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European Parliament

Stop illegal live sports streaming, urge MEPs

EU Reporter Correspondent

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Find out how MEPs want to stop the pirating of live sports transmissions.

What is the problem with illegal sports streaming?

Broadcasting live sports plays an important role in the economy, providing a major source of revenue to event organizers. However, live sports broadcasts are often transmitted illegally online by dedicated professional websites, whose business model is based on subscription fees or advertising.

80%  ; of right owners´ revenue comes from broadcast rights

This infringes intellectual property rights and could be a security risk for users, who could be exposed to malware or data theft, including credit card fraud.

Sports event and copyright

Sport events as such do not qualify for copyright protection, as they are not a “work” as defined by EU copyright law, although the recording of a sports event is protected. Some countries have introduced specific rules covering live broadcasts, but they are not harmonised at EU level.

The need for swift redress

Live sports broadcasts have a time-limited economic value - the duration of the event - meaning the window for action against piracy is small.

Current procedures against live streaming piracy are long and not immediately applicable, so lack efficacy. MEPs on the legal affairs committee say the best remedy is the immediate termination of an unauthorised broadcast.

The aim is to "tackle those thousands and thousands of illegal broadcasters [who] get the signal from different sport events across Europe and broadcast it illegally," said Adrián Vázquez Lázara (Renew, Spain), the chair of the legal affairs committee. As sports clubs can't currently sell tickets " we have to protect the only income they have left, which is the TV rights".

How MEPs want to tackle illegal sports streaming

The report, approved by the committee on 13 April, calls for the extension of existing rights to live broadcasts. It urges the European Commission to propose concrete measures specifically adapted to live sports events, allowing for the immediate removal of, or the disabling of access to, content without blocking the legal live broadcast.

The removal of illegal content should take place immediately after reception of the notice and no later than 30 minutes after the start of the event. The new rules should target professional illegal broadcasters, not viewers who are often unaware that they are consuming illegal content.

The rules should not apply to live in-venue content or footage by the audience as this does not infringe any rights and is an integral part of fan culture.

Next steps

All MEPs will vote on the report during the May plenary session.

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Brexit

MEPs delay Brexit trade vote until UK respects withdrawal agreement

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committees will vote on whether to give their consent to the trade and co-operation agreement between the EU and the UK on Thursday (15 April).

Time: Thursday, 15 April, 13.00-13.30 CET.

Venue: Brussels, Altiero Spinelli (1G-3) and remote participation.

Watch it live

At the extraordinary meeting, MEPs on the foreign affairs and trade committees will decide whether to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the agreement currently in provisional application until 30 April. The full House is to take the final decision, as well as adopt a separate resolution, at a future plenary session. The Parliament’s Conference of Presidents has decided not to set a plenary date yet, in order to emphasise the need for the UK side to fully implement the Withdrawal Agreement before doing so.

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European Parliament

European Parliament gives partial go-ahead to UK trade deal vote

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The European Parliament gave the go-ahead on Tuesday (13 April) for two key committees to vote this week on the EU-UK trade deal, but deferred a decision on whether the full parliament will give its assent later this month, writes Philip Blenkinsop.

The vote by parliament would be a final step in clearing the trade agreement struck between Britain and the European Union in December. Members of the parliament suspended the voting process in March in protest against British changes to arrangements on Northern Ireland.

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