Statewatch article: RefNo# 35699
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU
Statewatch News Online, November 2015
BALKANS: Corruption, Justice Top Agenda in Commission Report (Balkan Insight, link): "The courts, corruption and organized crime remain the EU’s main concerns in the Western Balkans, the Commission’s latest progress report shows."

BELGIUM: Antwerp police in plastic bullet incident (Flanders News, link): "The Quick Response Team of the Antwerp local police shot a 14-year-old girl last week with a special rifle that makes use of minute plastic bullets. The incident is making waves in Belgium, although the girl only had a bruise."

BELGIUM: Court finds facebook is violating privacy laws (Flanders News, link): "A Belgian court has ordered the social networking website Facebook to stop recording the activities of Belgian internet users who have not given explicit authorisation for this. The judge made his ruling after Belgium's Privacy Commission went to court unhappy with facebook's practice of logging the web history of internet users in Belgium."

BULGARIA: Two Bulgarian Nationalist Ataka MPs Give Up Immunity from Criminal Prosecution (Novinite, link): "Two Bulgarian Nationalist Ataka MPs have given up their immunity from criminal prosecution, which would allow for proceedings into their alleged involvement in two incidents in downtown Sofia to take place."

DENMARK: Hundreds of accused remain absent from their trials (The Copenhagen Post, link): "Hundreds of trials in Denmark end up being postponed because the accused fail to show up, according to a new report from the courts authority Domstolsstyrelsen."

EU: Jobbik MEP immunity suspended (Budapest Times, link): "The European Parliament (EP) has suspended the immunity of Hungarian radical nationalist Jobbik MEP Béla Kovács in a plenary session. The Constitutional Protection Office raised charges of espionage against Kovács in May on suspicion that he had regularly met Russian diplomats covertly and paid monthly visits to Moscow."

GERMANY: 'For a neo-nazi drop-out everything collapses' (Deutsche Welle, link): "The neo-Nazi drop-out project "Nina NRW" works with people wanting to leave the right-wing extremist scene and return to a non-violent life. In an interview with DW a drop-out counselor describes how this can succeed."

GERMANY: Kristallnacht memorial leaves lessons to be learned for Germany's right-wing extremists (Deutsche Welle, link): "November 9-10, 1938, saw Jewish premises ransacked across Germany and thousands of men taken to concentration camps. A Kristallnacht memorial service in Leipzig has come with a warning to learn from history."

GERMANY: NSU trial suspended ahead of anticipated Beate Zschäpe testimony (Deutsche Welle, link): "The planned testimony of alleged terrorist Beate Zschäpe has been postponed. The member of a German neo-Nazi group accused of carrying out racial killings was expected to break her silence for the first time this week."

Hungarian Woman Fined for Facebook Post About State Spending (Global Voices, link): "The local government of Tata, a town in Hungary, has filed a lawsuit against a resident because she shared a Facebook post that questioned government spending."

HUNGARY: Pro-gov’t think-tank denies allegations of looking at classified documents (Politics. hu, link): "The think-tank Századvég has said reports that it had access to state classified documents are unfounded. In a statement, the Századvég School of Politics Foundation said that it firmly rejected all the allegations, which it called “malevolent lies”. The press reports are “grossly ill-informed and contain numerous disingenuous claims”, the statement said, adding that the foundation abided by all regulations."

HUNGARY: Voices critical of government rare guests on state media news channel (Politics.hu, link): "There was not a single guest on state media news channel M1 voicing criticism of the government’s policies from early Monday to to midday Wednesday last week, reports 444.hu."

NETHERLANDS: Police investigate leak in parliament’s top security committee (Dutch News, link): "The police are investing a potential leak in parliament which led to secret information about national security issues being leaked to a journalist, the Telegraaf says on Tuesday."

Portugal’s leftist opposition topples government (EUobserver, link): "Left wing parties ousted Portugal’s ruling centre-right coalition on Tuesday (10 November), only 10 days after it came into power, paving the way for a Socialist-led government that could end years of austerity under the EU's bailout programme."

Privacy will hit tipping point in 2016 (CNBC, link): "Concerns about online privacy will reach a tipping point in 2016, prompting regulators to crack down on companies, and consumers to demand greater protection, a new study by Forrester Research predicts."

ROMANIA: New Technocrat-Led Govt Expected in Romania (Balkan Insight, link): "After PM Victor Ponta stepped down amid protests over a deadly nightclub fire, the next premier is likely to be an independent technocrat focused on maintaining growth, experts predicted."

Serbian Journalist ‘Shot After Surveillance Officers Stood Down’ (Balkan Insight, link): "A former Serbian state security officer told the Slavko Curuvija murder trial that the prominent journalists was killed minutes after a security team was told to stop following him."

SPAIN: State Council gives green light for PM to appeal Catalan self-rule action (El País, link): "The State Council gave the go-ahead on Tuesday for the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to file an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the Catalan parliament’s controversial self-rule resolution."

UK: Criminal justice 'transformation': a wolf in sheep's clothing? (Center for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "Rebecca Roberts offers a word of caution on recent calls for a prison building programme and expansion of electronic monitoring."

UK: David Cameron reported to statistics watchdog over questionable EU migrant benefit statistics (The Independent, link): "The Government has been reported to its statistics watchdog over figures referred to by David Cameron in his Tuesday speech about European Union reform."

UK: It’s time to consign joint enterprise to history (The Justice Gap, link): "Joint enterprise allows for several people to be prosecuted for an offence, without differentiating their roles and culpability, as long as it can be shown that all parties were in some way involved. The doctrine originally developed some 300 years ago, supposedly as a way of prosecuting duellers and their associates, but has seen a revival in recent years due to the increase in offences involving gangs. Supporters have advocated for the use of joint enterprise in cases involving paedophile rings and white collar crime and have argued that without it the killers of Stephen Lawrence would still roam free."

UK: Your access to Freedom of Information is under threat – here’s what to do (mySociety, link): "Proposed changes, currently under discussion by a cross-party government commission, could make it much harder for you to access information."

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