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Mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters (Proposal)

The Commission presents a Proposal for a Regulation aimed at ensuring that any protection measure issued by a Member State will be easily recognised in the rest of the European Union (EU) without any further formality other than a standardised and multi-lingual certificate.

PROPOSAL

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters [COM(2011) 276 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

Victims of violence must continue to benefit from protection measures * against their offender, such as the obligation not to contact or the obligation not to approach the protected person, when they travel or move to another European Union (EU) Member State.

The Commission therefore proposes a Regulation to establish the arrangements for the mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters. The initiative comes from the Stockholm Programme which recognises the need to go further in matters of victim protection. It also forms part of a series of measures aimed at strengthening victims’ rights. Lastly, it complements an initiative submitted by a group of Member States in September 2009 relating to a Proposal for a Directive on the European Protection Order, aimed at ensuring the mutual recognition of protection measures taken in criminal matters.

Scope

The Regulation concerns protection measures taken in civil matters only. It does not cover protection measures taken in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility. In the event of a violation of a protection measure, criminal sanctions will continue to be dealt with by the national law of each EU country.

Due to their more specific nature, the measures provided for by this Regulation will replace those on the jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

Recognition and enforcement of judgments

To invoke a protection order in another EU country (the Member State of recognition), the protected person must simply present a certificate issued by the country which adopted the order (the Member State of origin). The Proposal provides for a standardised certificate containing all the information required for recognition, and if necessary, for enforcing the protection measure.

In cases of a cross-border nature or if requested by the protected person, the certificate shall be issued at the time of adoption of the measure.

One ground for refusal of recognition is provided for: in cases where the decision is irreconcilable with a decision taken by the Member State of recognition. The fact that the country does not have protection measures or has different measures does not prevent it from recognising the decision. If necessary, the Member State may adapt the protection measure to a similar one known under its own law.

If required, the Member State of recognition must ensure the enforcement of the measure by the competent authorities.

Arrangements are put in place in order to safeguard fundamental rights:

  • before issuing the certificate, the Member State of origin must verify that the fundamental rights of the person causing the risk, such as the right to a fair trial and the right of defence, have been respected;
  • in the event of suspension or withdrawal of the measure by the Member State of origin, the Member State of recognition shall suspend or withdraw the recognition and the enforcement of the measure at request of the person causing the risk;
  • the Member State of origin and the Member State of recognition must bring to the notice of the person causing the risk and of the protected person any information related to the issuing, recognition, possible enforcement and sanctions, and suspension or withdrawal of the protection measure.
Key terms of the Act
  • Protection measure: any decision of a preventive and temporary nature taken by an authority in a Member State with a view to protecting a person when serious reasons exist to consider the person’s physical and/or psychological integrity or liberty to be at risk. This includes measures which are adopted without the person causing the risk being summoned to appear.

REFERENCE

ProposalOfficial JournalProcedure

COM(2011) 276 final

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2011/130/COD

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime [COM(2011) 275 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The proposed Directive establishes minimum standards for the victims of crime. It aims to ensure that the specific needs of victims are taken into account during criminal proceedings, regardless of the nature of the offence or where it took place within the EU.
Co-decision procedure (2011/0129/COD)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 18 May 2011 - Strengthening victims' rights in the EU [COM(2011) 274 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 14.07.2011
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