During the last formal Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council under the Greek Presidency, EU Justice Ministers achieved a partial general approach on the Data Protection Regulation. The Council also agreed on a Regulation modernising cross-border insolvency rules and on strengthening procedural safeguards for children involved in criminal proceedings. The meeting on 6 June in Luxembourg was chaired by Greek Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Charalampos Athanasiou.
The Council reached a partial general approach on specific issues of the Data Protection Regulation. The agreement includes the territorial scope, the respective definitions of “Binding Corporate Rules” (BCR) and "international organisation" and the transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations (Chapter V). As far as the one-stop-shop mechanism is concerned, the Council defined guidelines for future work. “We have devoted a lot of effort to this proposal. Sufficient progress has been made to support a partial general approach. Today’s agreement constitutes a good basis for future work”, Mr Athanasiou said.
The Council was informed on the state of play of the Directive governing the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties. The Directive is part of the Data Protection Package, which aims at enhancing confidence in the online marketplace and improving individual’s control of their personal data.
The Justice Council reached a general agreement on the proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1346/2000 on insolvency. The new legislation will make cross‐border insolvency proceedings more efficient and quicker and respond to the need for small and medium businesses to survive the financial crisis. “I would like to thank all Member States for their cooperation. We have put a lot of effort into this proposal, which constitutes one of the key priorities for the Greek Presidency in times of economic crisis”, the Greek Justice Minister stressed.
The Council also adopted the revised list of Annexes of the original Insolvency Regulation (EC) No 1346/2000, which includes new insolvency proceedings introduced in Member States. Regarding insolvency, the Commission announced the interconnection, for the first time, of insolvency registers of seven Member States (Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Romania.
An agreement was achieved with respect to the Directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings. “This is the fourth measure on the basis of the Roadmap on Criminal Procedural Rights that was adopted in 2009 and aims at enhancing procedural rights in criminal proceedings”, Minister Athanasiou noted.
Member States confirmed the priority competence of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the Union's financial interests. European Prosecutors will supervise investigations and prosecutions in their Member States of origin, while the Permanent Chambers will direct, monitor and, where necessary, give direct instructions. Moreover, the Permanent Chambers will always be responsible for certain key decisions, such as the closing of a case. The Council adopted the compromise text for the first 19 Articles of the Regulation, formulated at expert level, as a basis for future work. “Today we set guidelines as regards the structure and the concurrent competence of the Office. I think that we have now laid a solid basis to work upon”, Minister Athanasiou said.
Justice Ministers endorsed guidelines on the proposal for a Regulation on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust). With regards to the creation of an efficient governance model, they expressed their support for an Executive Board with the participation of the Commission, which will be responsible for overseeing day to day administration and preparatory work for the College of Eurojust. This model would allow the College to focus on operational matters, whilst retaining overall control of the administration.
The Council confirmed the adoption of the second Multiannual European e-Justice Action Plan 2014-2018. “Further development of e-Justice is one of the cornerstones of the efficient functioning of Justice in the Member States and at European level”, Mr Athanasiou stressed. The Plan focuses mainly on enhancing access to information in the field of Justice, improving access to courts and extrajudicial procedures in cross-border situations and strengthening cooperation with non-EU countries in the area of e-Justice.
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