"EU citizens have the right to a fair trial, whatever their nationality and wherever they are in the Union,” said Viviane Reding, Commission Vice-President and Justice Commissioner. “We have built up a series of procedural rights in EU law and the right to be advised by a lawyer is a central part. I would like to thank the European Parliament for its support, and particularly Rapporteur MEP Oana Antonescu, for her instrumental work on this initiative. I count on national Ministers to do their part to make sure that this law swiftly becomes a reality on the ground."
Today’s vote by the European Parliament plenary follows a vote by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) in favour of the Commission’s proposal (MEMO/13/589). The LIBE vote followed an agreement at a so-called trilogue meeting between the Commission and the EU’s two co-legislators (the European Parliament and the Council, in which the Member States are represented) on 28 May 2013 (MEMO/13/468). EU Justice Ministers then endorsed the agreement on the draft law at their meeting of the Justice Council on 6 June 2013 (see SPEECH/13/514).
It is the third in a series of Directives proposed by Vice-President Reding since 2010 to guarantee fair trial rights for citizens, wherever they are in Europe. The Directive on Access to a Lawyer (IP/11/689) is one of the key actions to improve citizens’ lives announced in the Commission’s 2010 EU Citizenship Report.
Next steps: The text will now pass to the Council of Ministers of the European Union for formal adoption, signature and publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.