EU justice ministers pushed for stronger rights for victims
The Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) met in Brussels on 2–3 December 2019. The justice ministers’ session on Tuesday 3 December, was chaired by Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson. The issues discussed included victims’ rights, environmental crime and strengthening the rule of law.
The Council adopted conclusions on victims’ rights. They call on the European Commission to draw up a new EU strategy to ensure that victims’ rights apply in practice and regardless of which member state the crime has occurred in. As part of the strategy, the Council invites the Commission to evaluate the existing EU legislation on victims’ rights, focussing on a review of the current rules on compensation.
Justice ministers play a key role in strengthening the rule of law
Over their working lunch, the ministers discussed strengthening the rule of law within the EU, pursuing a debate launched at the informal meeting of ministers in Helsinki last July. The topic was raised in a recent communication from the Commission, announcing that it would start publishing an annual report on rule of law developments in the member states. The justice ministers discussed their own role in this context and the key rule of law issues to focus on in the future.
I am happy to be able to say that Finland’s Presidency has provided us with the opportunity to put the rule of law on the justice ministers’ agenda in a more systematic and comprehensive way. Smooth judicial processes and an independent judiciary are a must for citizens to be able to enjoy their rights. The fight against corruption also needs to be intensified. In all EU countries, the justice ministers play a key role in making this happen.
– Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson
The Council reached agreement on amendments to the two regulations on the service of documents and the taking of evidence. In the field of civil law, Finland’s Presidency has promoted the role of digital solutions aimed at speeding up cross-border cooperation in the taking of evidence and in the service of writs of summonses and other judicial documents in another member state.
Eeva Aittoniemi, Head of Unit, EU and international affairs, Ministry of Justice, Finland, tel. +358 2951 50170