Legal Dialogue

23/01/2023

Thousands protest in Lisbon for animal rights amid constitutional dispute

Portugal's public prosecutors asked the constitutional court to declare unconstitutional a law that criminalises with a fine or jail time those who mistreat their pets. According to public prosecutors, the court has already made decisions that pointed to the alleged unconstitutionality of the legislation. After being criticised for not speaking up about the issue, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said in a statement that a law punishing those who mistreat animals was an "indisputable requirement".

Source: Reuters

23/01/2023

France to take legal action over ‘nightmare’ plastic pellet spill

The French government is taking legal action over an “environmental nightmare” caused by waves of tiny plastic beads washing up on the coast of Brittany. The white pellets the size of grains of rice, nicknamed “mermaids’ tears”, have been appearing on beaches in France and Spain for the last year. They are believed to have come from shipping containers lost in the Atlantic Ocean.

Source: Guardian

23/01/2023

Pro-Kremlin channel Russia Today says France operation closing

The French arm of the Russian state-owned RT television network said it was shutting down after authorities used European Union sanctions to freeze its bank accounts. Late last February, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the EU said it would ban Russia Today on the grounds it had been spreading disinformation about the war. RT France appealed the ban but lost.

Source: Reuters

23/01/2023

Germany not ready for anti-discrimination reform, despite Muslim bias

After Sinti and Roma, Muslims are the least accepted minorities in Germany, the latest situation report of the government’s Anti-Racism Commissioner concluded. Muslim women who wear headscarves are particularly affected by discrimination and exclusion. But not everyone in the governing coalition is in favour of reforming anti-discrimination laws.

Source: Euroactiv

23/01/2023

In Greece, migrant rights defenders acquitted of espionage charges

Trumped-up charges have been dropped against migrant rights defenders Sean Binder, Sara Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos and others for assisting migrants to safely cross to Lesvos island as part of humanitarian work. They were accused of “people smuggling”, “money laundering”, “espionage” and “membership in a criminal organisation”.

Source: Frontline Defenders

17/01/2023

Nonprofit with links to Russian officials proposes State Duma legalize seizure of foreign agents’ property

The National Historical Heritage Protection Foundation, an organization whose founders include Russian State Duma First Deputy Speaker Ivan Melnikov, has proposed amending Russia’s Criminal Code to allow the state to seize the property of people and entities who authorities have dubbed “foreign agents.”

Source: Meduza

16/01/2023

Poland’s rule of law legislation moves forward — but fights remain

The Polish parliament voted through a bill that would roll back some of the country’s controversial judicial reforms in a bid to unlock EU cash — frozen over worries in Brussels that the country is out of step with the bloc’s democratic rules. But the divisive political fight over the measure isn’t over. The legislation would shift judicial disciplinary matters from the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, seen as being under the government’s influence, to the Supreme Administrative Court that is viewed as being more independent.

Source: Politico

16/01/2023

Portugal approves new vetting system after string of hiring scandals

Portugal's government said future officials would from now on have to answer a questionnaire before they are appointed to prove they are fit for office after a string of hiring scandals rocked the ruling Socialists. The new vetting system, a set of 34 questions, would allow the government to verify the candidates' background and that there were no conflicts of interest before they were appointed.

Source: Reuters

16/01/2023

‘Unprecedented pressure’ as EU’s borders face rising migrant numbers

EU and Schengen countries faced "unprecedented pressure" at their external borders in 2022, with the number of detected irregular border crossings reaching a level not seen since 2016, new figures show. Around 330,000 irregular border crossings were detected last year which amounts to a year-on-year jump of 64%, according to data released by Frontex.

Source: Euronews