Many European Union citizens are losing trust in the independence of their judicial systems, a European Commission report released on Friday stated.
This was particularly the case in EU countries that faced challenges to their judiciary over the past year, as half of them saw a drop in the number of citizens who believe their courts are independent.
Overall, two fifths of EU members saw a drop in perceived independence of the judiciary.
“The interference or pressure from government and politicians was the most stated reason for the perceived lack of independence of courts and judges.
“Followed by the pressure from economic or other specific interests,’’ a news release for the so-called Justice Scoreboard said.
The Justice Scoreboard is released annually by the Commission and measures the effectiveness of the judiciary in EU countries.
Croatia scores lowest on the ranking, with only 24 per cent of the population believing their judiciary is independent. About 68 per cent think the Croatian courts are “bad” or “very bad.”
Denmark scores highest, with 86 per cent classing their judiciary as “good” or “very good.”
Didier Reynders, EU commissioner for justice, said the report identified shortcomings and best-practices in EU countries.
“In a few member states, where legislative changes have recently been adopted that encroach on judicial independence.
“Also attacks on judges and prosecutors have intensified, perceived independence has further decreased,’’ he said.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
UK immigration to EU bloc nations up 30% since Brexit, naturalisations jump – Research
The number of UK nationals, who have acquired citizenship in European Union (EU) nations has jumped by 30 per cent since the Brexit referendum in 2016, a research has found.
The yearly average of UK citizens moving to any of the other 27 EU nations from 2008-2015 was nearly 57,000, while that same figure from 2016-2018 showed an average of over 73,000 annual migrations, the research by the Berlin Social Science Center, published on Monday, claimed.
This data does not account for the UK citizens who had been residing in EU nations but decided to register after the referendum, The Guardian reported.
That number grew by some 500 percent according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat.
Spain was the most popular destination for UK expatriates, with over 21,000 registrations in the two years following the Brexit vote, compared to an average annual number of 2,300 prior, the paper found.
France and Germany also saw a big jump in the number of UK nationals putting themselves on the path to citizenship.
About half of the 120,000 UK nationals in Germany are expected to have dual citizenship by the end of the year.
The authors of the study were unambiguous about the impact that Brexit had on decisions to migrate.
Because the Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels look likely to restrict employment and residency rights UK citizens had enjoyed, cosmopolitan and mobile Britons prefer to maintain access to a larger pool of employment opportunities and services.
The contentious 2016 Brexit referendum was followed by years of political crisis and a polarised public sphere in the UK.
After multiple delays, the UK finally exited the bloc in January 2020.
A transition period will run to the end of this year, during which time the two sides must reach deals in a host of fields.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
France to push for rights sanctions in EU recovery plan – Minister
France will push for financial sanctions under the EU’s 750 billion euro ($880 billion) coronavirus recovery fund against states that undermine fundamental human rights, its junior European Affairs Minister told the Financial Times newspaper.
“We can’t tell (French, Polish, Hungarian and European) citizens that (we) can have financial solidarity in Europe and not care how the basic rules of democracy, free media and equal rights are respected,’’ Clement Beaune said in an interview published late on Sunday.
The European Union is struggling to respond to what many in Western Europe see as creeping authoritarianism on its eastern flank.
The European Commission, EU lawmakers and activists have said freedoms are notably under threat in Poland and Hungary.
Beaune told the newspaper that the EU must be tougher on breaches by those countries.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19 Response: FG receives 2nd Batch Medical Supplies of UN Basket Fund
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has joined other stakeholders to receive 2nd Batch Medical Supplies purchased with UN Basket Fund for COVID-19 Response on behalf of the Federal Government.
Mr Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja.
Oyetomi said Ehanire joined the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu at the Cargo Section of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to receive medical supplies from EU contributions worth N26 Billion.
Ehanire said this 2nd Batch of medical supplies would allay the fears of the health workers, especially the frontline health workers, who thought that Nigeria might be running short of supplies and were threatening strike.
The minister said there was arrangement in place through institutions and international friends like the EU and the UN to have replenishment.
He assured the EU and the UN of judicious distribution of the medical supplies to needed areas.
The Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Alexander Borges – Gomes, coordinated the handing over of the Medical Supplies.
Borges-Gomes disclosed that the items were procured through the One United Nations COVID-19 Basket Fund from a significant contribution from the European Union of €50 Million (N26 Billion).
The medical supplies include 500,000 face shields; 200,000 goggles; 100 oro-pharyngeal airways; 10,000 bio-hazard bags; and 14,000 safety boxes.
Borges-Gomes disclosed further that these were the 2nd Batch of the Medical Supplies by Team Europe – the EU and its MSs after the arrival of the 1st batch in mid-June, adding “Team Europe operates globally and here is the effort on behalf of Nigeria.”
He expressed hope that the equipment would boost the Nigerian Government’s response efforts as a whole but in particular, they would protect the heroic frontline health workers.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Russia vows tit-for-tat retaliation for EU sanctions
The Russian Foreign Ministry pledged a tit-for-tat response on Friday to the new European Union (EU) sanctions against a number of Russian citizens and government agencies under the pretext of their involvement in cyber attacks.
“As you know, in diplomacy, everything is mirrored,” the ministry said in a statement.
The decision made Thursday by the Council of the EU to introduce unilateral restrictive measures against a number of citizens and entities of Russia, China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea causes bewilderment and regret, it said.
Moscow has several times suggested that the EU establish a professional dialogue on issues of concern in the information sphere, or use the existing channels and mechanisms through the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the ministry said.
Joint efforts are required to develop universal rules, standards and principles of responsible behavior for states in the information sphere and Russia has long been proposing this approach, it said.
But instead, Brussels preferred to use a sanctions toolkit, presenting it as promoting international security and stability in cyberspace, the ministry said.
The ministry also pointed out that the EU sanctions are absolutely illegitimate from an international legal point of view.
It said that the EU applied the sanctions retroactively, as the Russian citizens were accused of involvement in a cyber incident that took place in 2018, that is, a year before the establishment of the cyber sanctions mechanism by the EU.