The priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency in the field of justice

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Since 1st July 2015, Luxembourg holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It published its programme: “A Union for the citizens Priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency”. In the field of justice, here are probably the most important points (p. 16 to 19—we excluded criminal justice):

Article 6 of the TEU states that the EU shall accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. However, it is well-known that the negative opinion of the Court of Justice of the EU in December 2014 changed considerably the landscape. Nevertheless, accession is a legal duty enshrined in the highest norm of the EU legal order and the new Presidency must therefore continue to work on the topic. It tried to put it in a nice way: “While the process of accession must continue, it requires a period of reflection and analysis following the opinion of the Court of Justice of the EU” (p. 16).

The reform of the Court of Justice of the EU, i.e. increasing the number of judges of the General Court of the EU (see the post entitled “Towards 28 more judges at the General Court and no more Civil Service Tribunal?” on this website), will be a priority for the Luxembourg Presidency. Putting the General Court of the EU in a position to deliver judgment within a reasonable time period, in accordance with the requirements of the Charter of Fundamental Rights regarding the right to a fair trial, is essential. It is even more vital as the first actions for damages for the infringement of this obligation have already been lodged. Consequently, the reform needs to be implemented without delay. Note that the President of the General Court (Marc Jaeger) is from Luxembourg.

The success of the digital internal market largely depends on the trust that citizens and companies have in the flow of online data. Therefore, Luxembourg believes it is necessary to finalise the EU data protection reform for the proper functioning of the single market.

Judicial cooperation in family law is a field of action in which European legislation has a tangible impact on the lives of citizens. It is an obvious way to convince some European citizens of the usefulness of the European construction for their daily lives. Judicial cooperation in family law is seen as an element of European citizenship and the free movement of persons. The body of law relating to this cooperation is decisive with regard to ensuring legal certainty and predictability for European couples involved in complex litigation. Luxembourg will therefore make every effort possible to usefully complement this body of law, particularly with regard to the instruments required for matrimonial relationships and property effects arising from registered partnerships.

Simplifying the circulation of several public documents, for example by facilitating multilinguism, is another measure designed to help build a people’s Europe: it will make it easier to exercise the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Treaties. Therefore, Luxembourg also considers it as a priority. It will be an easier task since the Council agreed on a General Approach on the topic in June 2015.

(Altalex, 17 August 2015. Article by Emmanuel Guinchard)

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