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Showing posts from June, 2024

Prison overcrowding remains a problem in Europe: Council of Europe’s annual penal statistics for 2023

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Prison overcrowding continues to be an acute and persistent problem in a significant number of European prison administrations, according to the Council of Europe’s Annual Penal Statistics on Prison Populations ( SPACE I ) for 2023. In countries with over 500,000 inhabitants, twelve prison administrations reported having more inmates than places available in January 2023. Overall, in Europe, the number of prisoners per 100 places available grew by 2% from 31 January 2022 to 31 January 2023 (from 91.7 to 93.5 inmates). Seven prison administrations reported a prison density of more than 105 inmates per 100 places available, indicating severe overcrowding: Cyprus (166 inmates per 100 places), Romania (120), France (119), Belgium (115), Hungary (112), Italy (109) and Slovenia (107). Five prison administrations reported very high prison density: Greece (103), Sweden (102), North Macedonia (101), Croatia (101) and Türkiye (100). Other administrations reported a prison density below 100 but

McDonald’s loses the EU trade mark Big Mac in respect of poultry products

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According to the Judgment of the General Court in Case T-58/23 (Supermac’s v EUIPO), McDonald’s loses the EU trade mark Big Mac in respect of poultry products. The General Court holds that McDonald’s has not proved genuine use within a continuous period of five years in the European Union in connection with certain goods and services. Supermac’s and McDonald’s, an Irish and American fast-food chain respectively, are involved in a dispute regarding the EU trade mark Big Mac. That trade mark had been registered for McDonald’s in 1996. In 2017, Supermac’s filed an application for revocation of that mark in relation to certain goods and services. It submitted that the mark had not been put to genuine use in the European Union in connection with those goods and services within a continuous period of five years.  The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) partially upheld that application. However, it confirmed the protection which the contested mark conferred on McDonald’s in r

Ban on visible Muslim symbols of belief in the official education system not incompatible with Article 9 of the ECHR

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In its final decision in the case of Mikyas and Others v. Belgium (application no. 50681/20) the European Court of Human Rights has, by a majority, declared the application inadmissible. The case concerned three young women who identify as Muslims.  They complained that they were unable to wear the Islamic headscarf in their secondary schools (except during religious education classes), following the prohibition on wearing any visible symbols of one’s beliefs in the official education system of the Flemish Community.  The Court stated that the concept of neutrality in the Community’s education system, understood as prohibiting, in a general manner, the wearing by pupil of visible symbols of one’s beliefs, did not in itself run counter to Article 9 of the Convention and the values underlying it.  The Court noted in the present case that the contested ban did not concern solely the Islamic veil, but applied without distinction to all visible symbols of belief. It considered that the nati

EPPO takes over judicial investigation into the purchase of Covid-19 protective equipment in Spain

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On 4 March 2024, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Madrid (Spain) initiated an investigation into possible fraud affecting public contracts awarded by the health authorities of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands to a single company, for the purchase of medical equipment, including protective masks, during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Given that Spain’s Central Court of Investigation No. 2 was investigating the same company for contracts awarded by other health authorities, and since one of those contracts was co-funded by the EU, the EPPO requested additional information to determine whether the case fell within its mandate. After receiving this information and examining it in detail, the EPPO has taken the decision to take over that judicial investigation, in order to inquire into all contracts awarded by the various public authorities to the same company within a short period of time.  EPPO make known that this exceptional update comes after the extremely high

European Commission calls on Italy and Poland to correctly transpose EU rules on the right of access to a lawyer and to communicate upon arrest

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The European Commission calls on Italy and Poland to correctly transpose EU rules on the right of access to a lawyer and to communicate upon arrest. The European Commission decided to open an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Poland (and to send a reasoned opinion to Italy for failing to correctly transpose into their national legislation the Directive on the right of access to a lawyer and to communicate upon arrest ( Directive 2013/48/EU ).  The deadline for Member States to transpose the Directive was 27 November 2016.  The Directive is one of the six Directives that make up the EU's legal framework on common minimum standards for fair trials, ensuring that the rights of suspects and accused persons are sufficiently protected. It strengthens Member States' trust in each other's criminal justice systems and thus facilitates mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters. The Commission considers that certain national transposition mea

Editorial

Editorial
George Kazoleas, Lawyer