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24 September 2012

EESC seeks practical progress with implementation of EU Package of Rights for Victims, following vote at European Parliament

Once the provisions are finally adopted at EU level later this year, the European Commission needs to work with Member State governments on implementing the measures in their countries, says the EESC.

Kathleen Walker Shaw, the EESC Member responsible for drafting the Committee's opinion on the package of measures, together with other EESC colleagues, met European Commission officials today to discuss what needs to be done to ensure that the positive new measures become a working reality.

Ms Shaw and other EESC colleagues have been providing ongoing support to one victim’s mother, Maggie Hughes, to ensure that her voice is heard at European level highlighting the plight currently faced by victims and their families. They were instrumental in introducing Maggie Hughes to Vice-President Viviane Reding before the launch of the proposals to ensure that the EU Commission had a clear insight into the challenges victims and their families face. Ms Reding was so inspired by Ms Hughes' courage, drive and energy to improve victims’ rights across the EU that she has referred to her several times at press conferences and in the plenary sessions of the European Parliament and other institutions where the proposals have been debated. The President of the EESC Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship Section, Leila Kurki, also commented that Ms Hughes' presentation to EESC Members had a major impact and that tangible measures must follow.

Ms Hughes has campaigned to ensure that no other mothers or families have to go through what she and her victim son, Robbie (who was seriously injured in an unprovoked attack in Crete in 2008), went through.

Ms Hughes, who has fought hard for these changes, said, “I am delighted about the vote in the European Parliament plenary and the progress we have made with the proposals on victims' rights in the EU. Together with my union, the GMB, and the EESC, we have been on a major journey at EU level to gain vital rights for victims abroad.

I pay tribute to EU Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding for her commitment to pushing through this package of rights and support for victims and her support for Robbie's case and our campaign, and to friends in the European Parliament and European Economic and Social Committee who have supported our campaign.
But, as we all know, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and once the provisions are finally adopted at EU level later this year, Member State governments need to work hard to implement the measures in their countries. This will turn the progress in support and rights for victims the proposals promise into a practical reality on the ground so that no other family will have to go through the agony, frustration and pain that we did to get support and justice for our son Robbie, who was a victim himself when viciously assaulted in Crete.”

The EESC meeting with the European Commission today now takes up the next phase of this process, ensuring that the changes Maggie Hughes has fought for become reality.

For more information please contact:

Karin Füssl, Head of the Press Unit

Tel.: +32 2 546 87 22


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