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The name Pablo Escobar may not be registered as an EU trade mark

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According to the Judgment of the General Court in Case T-255/23 (Escobar v EUIPO) the name Pablo Escobar may not be registered as an EU trade mark. The public would associate that name with drug trafficking and narco-terrorism.  On 30 September 2021, Escobar Inc., established in Puerto Rico (United States), filed an application with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for registration of the word sign Pablo Escobar as an EU trade mark for a wide range of goods and services.  The Colombian national named Pablo Escobar, who was born on 1 December 1949 and died on 2 December 1993, is presumed to be a drug lord and a narco-terrorist who founded and was the sole leader of the Medellín cartel (Colombia).  EUIPO rejected the application for registration on the ground that the mark was contrary to public policy and to accepted principles of morality. It relied on the perception of the Spanish public, as it is the most familiar with Pablo Escobar due to the links between Spa

Rule of Law: EU law does not require that professional associations of judges are granted the right to challenge decisions relating to the appointment of prosecutors

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According to the Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-53/23 (Asociaţia “Forumul Judecătorilor din România”(8.5.2024) EU law does not require that professional associations of judges are granted the right to challenge decisions relating to the appointment of prosecutors. A Romanian professional association of judges challenges the appointment of certain prosecutors responsible for conducting investigations concerning cases of corruption in Romania. They consider that the national legislation on which those appointments are based is incompatible with EU law and should not be applied. Hearing that case, the Court of Appeal of Pitești (Romania) asks the Court of Justice whether the Romanian procedural rules, which, in essence, prevent associations of judges from bringing an action against the appointment of those prosecutors, since those rules make the admissibility of such an action subject to the existence of a legitimate private interest, comply with EU law. The Romanian c

Legal Expert at the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)

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The European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs: EBA, EIOPA, ESMA) are looking for establishing a talent pool to support their oversight's mandate under the DORA regulation for the position of Legal Expert (DORA Legal and Compliance)  The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) is an independent European Union Authority established on 1 January 2011 by Regulation (EU) No. 1094/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010. EIOPA is part of the European System of Financial Supervision (ESFS) which includes the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). Further information on EIOPA is available on EIOPA’s website:  https://www.eiopa.europa.eu/ The Digital Operational Resilience Act (i.e Regulation 2023/2554, or “DORA”) applicable from January 2025 establishes a comprehensive framework for fostering the digital operational resilience of all EU fin

EU rules on the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial: Commission calls on Bulgaria, Spain and Poland to correctly transpose the Directive

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The European Commission calls on Bulgaria, Spain and Poland to correctly transpose the EU rules on the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial. The European Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Spain (INFR(2024)2033) and Poland (INFR(2024)2034), as well as to send an additional letter of formal notice to Bulgaria (INFR(2023)2093) for failing to correctly transpose the Directive on the strengthening of the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings ( Directive 2016/343/EU ). The Directive is one of  six Directives  adopted by the EU to create common minimum standards ensuring that the fair trial  rights of suspects and accused persons  in criminal proceedings are sufficiently protected across the EU. The Commission considers that certain national transposition measures notified by the three Member States fall short of the requirements of the Directive. The C

Automatic loss of German nationality in the event of recovery of Turkish nationality (ECJ)

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According to the Judgment of the Court of Justice in Joined Cases C-684/22 to C-686/22 (Stadt Duisburg), EU law does not, in principle, preclude the automatic loss of German nationality in the event of recovery of Turkish nationality. However, where that loss is also liable to entail the loss of EU citizenship, it must be possible to carry out an individual examination of the consequences of that loss for the person concerned. A number of Turkish nationals have challenged before a German court the loss of their German nationality, which they acquired by naturalisation in 1999. In order to become German, they had had to renounce their Turkish nationality. However, after their naturalisation in Germany, and more specifically after 1 January 2000, they reacquired Turkish nationality at their own request. As a result of an amendment to the German legislation which entered into force on 1 January 2000, that recovery of Turkish nationality resulted in the automatic loss [1] of German na

Fine of €175,000 on the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum for GDPR breaches

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Ministry of Migration and Asylum received administrative fine and GDPR compliance order following an own-initiative investigation by the  Data Protection Authority of Greece. At the end of 2021, the Greek Supervisory Authority (SA) became aware of a decision of the Greek Government regarding the development and implementation of the “Centaur” programme by the Hellenic Ministry of Migration and Asylum in order to control the reception and accommodation facilities of third country nationals on the Aegean islands.  The Greek SA also received a request for information on border surveillance technologies from the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), while a request for investigation and opinion on the procurement and implementation of the “Hyperion” and “Centaur” systems in reception and accommodation facilities for asylum seekers was submitted to the Authority by civil society organizations in February 2022. In July 2022, the

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) seeks Senior Legal Advisor for its office in Copenhagen, Denmark

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United Nations Office for Project Services seeks Senior Legal Advisor for its office in Copenhagen, Denmark. UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services) in Copenhagen, Denmark is an operational arm of the United Nations – supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by successfully implementing its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. The Legal Group The Legal Group (LG) advises UNOPS management, project offices, regional offices and other specialized units within UNOPS on institutional, commercial, and administrative law matters.  Legal Advisors at UNOPS provide legal advice in the areas of public international law, dispute resolution, commercial law and administrative law.  This legal advice covers a wide range of topics, including host-country agreements and privileges and immunities, disputes with external parties, administrative/HR law matters, engagements, partnership agreements, grants, procurement

The state's failure to implement sufficient measures to combat climate change violated ECHR

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The ECHR has delivered Grand Chamber rulings in three climate change cases. In one of them the Court found that the Convention encompasses a right to effective protection by the State authorities from the serious adverse effects of climate change on lives, health, well-being and quality of life. In Grand Chamber's judgment in the case of Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland (application no. 53600/20) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority of sixteen votes to one, that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights; and, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 (access to court).  The case concerned a complaint by four women and a Swiss association, Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz, whose members are all older women concerned about the consequences of global warming on their living conditions and health. They consider that the Swiss authorities

Failure of an airline company to inform the data subject of completion of erasure request

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Failure of an airline company to inform the data subject of completion of erasure request and failure of transparency obligations resulted in the imposition of a fine equal to EUR 13,244. The Data Subject lodged her complaint with the Polish SA stating that she requested the data controller to erase all her personal data in the online interface provided by the data controller on 23 October 2018. In previous cases it has already been identified that the Hungarian SA is the LSA for the data controller, therefore case has been transferred.  Based on the data controller’s statement and the screenshot made by it on the relevant part of the IT system used to administer erasure requests, the data controller erased the Data Subject’s account on 23 November 2018, but failed to inform the Data Subject thereof prior to 6 March 2019.  The Hungarian SA founded that the data controller infringed Article 12(3) GDPR because it failed to inform the Data Subject of the action taken based on the reques

Bulgaria and Romania joined the Schengen area

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On 31 March, Bulgaria and Romania became Schengen members: the Schengen rules will apply in both Member States including on issuing Schengen visas and controls at the internal air and sea borders will be lifted. The European Commission strongly welcomes this achievement, which follows the historic Council decision of December 2023. The Schengen accession of these two Member States will make the common area more attractive by significantly expanding the world's largest common area without internal border controls. Since last December, both Member States have taken all necessary measures to ensure a smooth application of the Schengen rules as from 31 March 2024. The Cooperation Frameworks launched earlier this March by the Commission together with Bulgaria and Romania build on the successful implementation of the pilot projects for fast asylum and return procedures. With these Cooperation Frameworks, Romania and Bulgaria will further contribute to strengthening the cooperation on

The national legislation under which independent companies established in another Member State are excluded from copyright management is incompatible with EU law (ECJ)

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According to the Judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C-10/22, the national legislation under which independent companies established in another Member State are excluded from copyright management is incompatible with EU law. The legislation constitutes a restriction on the freedom to provide services that is neither justified nor proportionate. LEA is a collective management organisation that is governed by Italian law and authorised to operate in the field of copyright intermediation in Italy. Jamendo, a company incorporated under Luxembourg law, is an independent copyright management entity which has been operating in Italy since 2004.  LEA applied to the Rome District Court for an order requiring Jamendo to cease its copyright intermediation activity in Italy. According to Italian legislation, that activity is reserved exclusively to the Italian society of authors and publishers and to the other collective management organisations listed, such as LEA, whereas independe

Sanction imposed on judge for Facebook posts concerning matters of public interest infringed his freedom of expression (ECtHR)

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In Chamber’s judgment   in the case of Danileţ v. Romania (application no. 16915/21) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority (four votes to three), that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned a disciplinary sanction imposed on a judge by the National Judicial and Legal Service Commission for posting two messages on his Facebook account. The Court found that the domestic courts had failed to give due consideration to several important factors, in particular concerning the broader context in which the applicant’s statements had been made, his participation in a debate on matters of public interest, the question whether the value judgments expressed had been sufficiently based in fact and, lastly, the potentially chilling effect of the sanction. In addition, the existence of an attack on the dignity and honour of the profession of judge had not been sufficiently demonstrated. In the

The European Commission urges Germany, Spain, Latvia and Slovenia to comply with cross-border judicial procedures on the European Arrest Warrant

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The Commission urges Germany, Spain, Latvia and Slovenia to comply with cross-border judicial procedures on the European Arrest Warrant.   The European Commission decided to send an additional letter of formal notice to Germany, Latvia and Slovenia and a reasoned opinion to Spain for failing to comply with the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States ( Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA ). The  European arrest warrant  (EAW) is a simplified cross-border judicial procedure to surrender a requested person for the purpose of prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order. Operational since 1 January 2004, the EAW has replaced the lengthy extradition procedures that existed between EU Member States. The Commission first sent a letter of formal notice to Germany in February 2021, to Spain in May 2021, to Latvia in December 2021 and to Slovenia in February 2022. On analysis of their replies, the Commissio

Six new judges sworn in at the seat of the International Criminal Court

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Six new judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) were sworn on 8 March 2024, during a ceremony held at the seat of the Court in The Hague (Netherlands). During the Ceremony, participants also bid farewell to the six outgoing ICC judges ending their terms.  Judges Mr Keebong Paek (Republic of Korea), Mr Erdenebalsuren Damdin (Mongolia), Ms Iulia Motoc (Romania), Mr Haykel Ben Mahfoudh (Tunisia), Mr Nicolas Guillou (France) and Ms Beti Hohler (Slovenia) were elected for nine-year terms during the twenty-second session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute in December 2023.  The six new judges commenced their mandates on 11 March 2024 and will subsequently be called to full-time service on the basis of the workload of the Court. The six judges made a solemn undertaking in open court before the President of the ASP, H.E. Ms Päivi Kaukoranta, stating: "I solemnly undertake that I will perform my duties and exercise my powers as a judge of the Internati

Overcoming the challenges on big infrastructure projects by adopting a similar model to Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund in Cyprus

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Written by Efi Thoma, Lawyer LL.M. By adopting a hybrid akin model to Greece, i.e. the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (“HRADF”), pertaining to the privatization of Cyprus’ major public assets, the following benefits may accrue to the Republic of Cyprus.  From a financial perspective, the Republic of Cyprus would be eligible to attract some serious investors who would feel safe to invest into big public-private projects and respond to public tenders, by trusting an independent body of international experts, acting in full transparency and in accordance to the rules of private economy, while safeguarding the public interest. Hence, the Cypriot economy could grow exponentially by improving its international image and securing high-quality investments with a positive spillover effect on the country’s real economy. Furthermore, a budgetary discipline and sound financial management of such joint initiatives in terms of the privatization of Cyprus’ public assets, through the est

European Commission fines Apple over €1.8 billion over abusive App store rules for music streaming providers

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The European Commission has fined Apple over €1.8 billion for abusing its dominant position on the market for the distribution of music streaming apps to iPhone and iPad users (‘iOS users') through its App Store. In particular, the Commission found that Apple applied restrictions on app developers preventing them from informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app (‘anti-steering provisions'). This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. Apple is currently the sole provider of an App Store where developers can distribute their apps to  iOS users throughout the European Economic Area (‘EEA'). Apple controls every aspect of the iOS user experience and sets the terms and conditions that developers need to abide by to be present on the App Store and be able to reach iOS users in the EEA. The Commission's investigation found that Apple bans music streaming app developers from fully informing iOS users about alter

Defective products: New EU - rules to better protect consumers from damages

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European Parliament adopted on 12.3.2024 new EU consumer-protection rules to better respond to increased online shopping, emerging technologies and the transition to a circular economy. EU consumers will soon have easier access to compensation for damage caused by defective products. MEPs adopted revamped rules previously  agreed on with EU governments on 14 December 2023 , with 543 votes in favour, 6 against and 58 abstentions. The updated directive simplifies burden of proof requirements for those claiming compensation and cancels the minimum damage threshold of 500 euro. While the claimant would normally have to prove that the product was defective and its faultiness caused the damage, now a court can presume it is defective, especially in the most technically and scientifically complex cases. The court can also order the business to disclose the “necessary and proportionate” evidence to help victims of damage with their compensation claims. The new rules also allow national con

Refusal to issue in addition to a passport, an identity card serving as a travel document, on the sole ground that a person is domiciled in another Member State, is contrary to EU law (ECJ)

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According to the Judgment of the Court in Case C-491/21 ( Direcţia pentru Evidenţa Persoanelor şi Administrarea Bazelor de Date ), the refusal by a Member State to issue to one of its nationals, in addition to a passport, an identity card serving as a travel document, on the sole ground that he or she is domiciled in another Member State, is contrary to EU law. That refusal restricts the right to freedom of movement within the European Union, creating a difference in treatment between citizens domiciled abroad and those domiciled in that Member State. Since 2014, a Romanian lawyer has been domiciled in France and carries out his professional activities in both France and Romania. In 2017, he applied to the Romanian authorities to be issued with an identity card, whether simple or electronic, as a travel document enabling him to travel to France. That application was rejected on the ground that he was domiciled abroad. Hearing that case, the High Court of Cassation and Justice (Romania)

Digital Markets Act: The application by Bytedance (TikTok) seeking suspension of the Commission decision designating it as a gatekeeper is dismissed

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According to the Order of the President of the General Court in case T-1077/23 (R| Bytedance v Commission), the application by Bytedance (TikTok) seeking suspension of the Commission decision designating it as a gatekeeper is dismissed. Bytedance has failed to demonstrate the urgency required for an interim order in order to avoid serious and irreparable damage. Bytedance Ltd is a non-operating holding company established in China in 2012 which, through local subsidiaries, provides the entertainment platform TikTok. By decision of 5 September 2023, the Commission designated Bytedance as a gatekeeper under the Digital Markets Act (Regulation (EU) 2022/1925 of 14 September 2022 on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector).  In November 2023, Bytedance brought an action for annulment of that decision. By separate document, Bytedance lodged an application for interim measures seeking suspension of that decision.  By his order, the President of the General Court dismisses Bytedanc

Vacancy: Legal Adviser at the International Labor Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

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International Labor Organization (ILO) based in Geneva, invites interested candidates to submit their curriculum vitae for the position of Legal Adviser. The position of Legal Adviser directs the Office of the Legal Adviser, which  is responsible for providing legal advice and a full range of legal services on all matters implicating the legal interest of the Organization, including legal opinions, Office documents, Memoranda or briefs, concerning its Constitution, membership, governance structure, rules and activities. All officials, whether at headquarters or in the field, in the performance of their functions are expected to seek legal advice and any necessary legal services on all such matters to enable them to act in the best interests of the Organization in accordance with ILO rules and procedures.  Education Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in law.  A first-level university degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) in law with an additional two years of

Editorial

Editorial
George Kazoleas, Lawyer