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by Keith Zahra


EP recognises Russia as state sponsor of terrorism

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution recognising Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. MEPs highlighted that the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes. In light of this, they recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that “uses means of terrorism”.

As the EU currently cannot officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism, Parliament further called on the EU and its member states to put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list. This would trigger a number of significant restrictive measures against Moscow and have profound restrictive implications for EU relations with Russia.

In parallel, the European Parliament also called on Council to include the Russian paramilitary organisation ‘the Wagner Group’, the 141st Special Motorized Regiment, also known as the “Kadyrovites”, and other Russian-funded armed groups, militias and proxies, on the EU’s terrorist list.


EC announces harmonized number for victims of violence against women

The European Commission has announced an EU-wide harmonised number for helplines for victims of violence against women – 116 016. Women who are victims of violence will be able to call the same number across the EU to get advice and support. So far, 15 Member States have committed to connecting their existing helpline for victims of violence against women to this number. The deadline for Member States to reserve the common EU number to connect to national helplines is the end of April 2023. Earlier this year, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive to combat violence against women and domestic violence. The proposal aims to ensure that the most serious forms of violence against women are criminalised across the EU, such as rape, female genital mutilation and gender-based cyber violence, including cyberstalking and non-consensual sharing of intimate images.


New EU Global Health Strategy launched

The European Commission has adopted a new EU Global Health Strategy to improve global health security and deliver better health for all in a changing world. With the Strategy, the EU deepens its leadership and reasserts its responsibility for tackling key global challenges and health inequalities head-on: the unfinished agenda in global health and combatting health threats in the age of pandemics.

The Strategy positions global health as an essential pillar of EU external policy, a critical sector geopolitically and central to EU strategic autonomy. It promotes sustainable, meaningful partnerships of equals drawing on the Global Gateway. As the external dimension of the European Health Union, the strategy is designed to guide EU action for ensuring better preparedness and response to health threats in a seamless way.

The Strategy puts forward three key interrelated priorities in dealing with global health challenges: to deliver better health and well-being of people across the life course; to strengthen health systems and advance universal health coverage and to prevent and combat health threats, including pandemics, applying a One Health approach.


Council and EP agree on a directive to improve information exchange between law enforcement authorities

The Council Presidency and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on an information exchange directive. The agreed text is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament before undergoing the formal adoption procedure. 

This text will regulate the organisational and procedural aspects of information exchange between law enforcement authorities, contributing to making it more efficient. It will ensure law enforcement authorities have equal access to information available in other member states and avoid the proliferation of communication channels used to exchange information.

Member states will have a single point of contact (SPOC), which will be operational 24/7, for information exchange with other EU countries. In urgent cases, the requested information should be made available within eight hours if it is contained in a database that is directly accessible to the SPOC or law enforcement authorities, and within three days if the SPOC or law enforcement authorities can obtain it from other public authorities or private parties. For all other requests, the information should be made available within seven days. 

In addition, member states should assess on a case-by-case basis whether they should also send a copy of the information to Europol. The Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA), managed by Europol, will become the default channel of communication.

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