EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers approved proposals on the mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters at a Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels today. Key Data Protection reforms were also discussed.
EU Justice Ministers, led by Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, have reached agreement with the European Parliament on proposals aimed at protecting vulnerable citizens as they move between Member States. The proposal on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters will ensure that a protection order, such a barring order for domestic violence, can still be enforced if the victim moves from one EU Member State to another.
The agreement was reached on the second day of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, chaired by Minister Shatter, which is taking place in Brussels from 7-8 March.
Speaking after the Council, Minister Shatter said:
“The agreement reached on the European protection order (civil) is an important step in improving the rights of victims of crime in the EU and sends a strong signal that crime, in particular gender based violence, harassment and intimidation, is unacceptable in our society.”
The Minister added:
“This was very timely given that today is International Women’s Day and this is a Regulation of exceptional importance to the lives of women, in particular, who are more frequently victims of domestic violence. They will now be able to rely on protection measures obtained from a national authority when they travel to other Member States.”
Also on the agenda for Justice Ministers were new proposals aimed at protecting the Euro from counterfeiting and the reform of the EU’s data protection rules.
Minister Shatter - Individuals need to feel confident that they are protected doing business online and businesses will benefit from the more streamlined and simplified approach to regulation in the area.
Achieving progress on the proposed data protection reforms is a key priority of Ireland’s EU Presidency. Minister Shatter sought the support of his colleagues for the Presidency’s approach on a number of issues in the proposals relating, in particular, to a risk based approach and to flexibility for the public sector.
Following constructive discussions on the data protection package the Minister commented:
“Updating our data protection law is essential if the EU is to take full advantage of opportunities available in the digital economy. Individuals need to feel confident that they are protected doing business online and businesses will benefit from the more streamlined and simplified approach to regulation in the area. Only in this environment will trade flourish and can Europe play a leading role in the digital economy.”
Also agreed at the Council was an EU wide ban on the manufacturing and marketing of the psychoactive substance 4-methylamphetamine – so called 4-MA. Between 2010 and 2012, this substance was linked to 21 fatalities in 4 Member States. The decision represents a further step in the European response to tackling the growth in harmful new psychoactive substances