Sunday, 21 November 2010

EU Stockholm Programme Action Plan: European judicial culture needed?

According to the final draft agenda for the Strasbourg session 22 to 25 November 2010, Monday 22 November the European Parliament plenary is going to discuss the Action Plan Implementing the Stockholm Programme and on Tuesday 23 November the EP is going to vote (pages 3 and 9).

In the background we have the five year strategic guidelines adopted by the European Council in December 2009, with the definitive version published in the Official Journal of the European Union in May (OJEU 4.5.2010 C 115/1):

The Stockholm Programme — An open and secure Europe serving and protecting citizens

Based on the guidelines, we have the action plan to implement the strategic guidelines, proposed by the European Commission in April:

Communication from the Commission: Delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe's citizens - Action Plan Implementing the Stockholm Programme; Brussels, 20.4.2010 COM(2010) 171 final

We also know that the Commission's monitoring system PreLex loses the traces of the action plan after the sour conclusions by the JHA Council 3 June 2010.

Before the Stockholm Programme was adopted, the European Parliament tried to make its voice heard a year ago, when it voted a resolution:

European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2009 on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – An area of freedom, security and justice serving the citizen – Stockholm programme; P7_TA(2009)0090 (procedure 2009/2534(RSP) )

(Yesterday I presented a few extracts of the 25 November 2009 EP resolution relevant to citizens and enterprises, in Finnish on my trilingual blog Grahnlaw Suomi Finland.)

Citizens and businesses

This time around the European Parliament decided to take a closer look at legal issues relevant to EU citizens and businesses active across borders, in an own-initiative report:

Report on civil law, commercial law, family law and private international law aspects of the Action Plan Implementing the Stockholm Programme; A7-0252/2010, 24.9.2010 Committee on Legal Affairs, Rapporteur: Luigi Berlinguer (procedure 2010/2080(INI) ) (20 pages)

European judicial culture

Even if the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) congratulates the Commission on its ambitious proposed action plan, the report calls for reflection on the future of the area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ).

Interestingly, the JURI committee takes a very long term view. The beginning of the report is heavily laden with suggestions for discussions and exchanges with judges and practitioners, representatives of legal education and training etc. in order to nurture a European judicial culture.

Later the report discusses proposed actions with more immediate impact on mobile citizens, cross-border consumers and companies active in the internal market, but it may be more opportune to treat these initiatives in the context of the latest policy statements and proposals from the Commission, first collectively and later individually.

Ralf Grahn

J.K. After a long silence the EU Law Blog has returned to the European legal blogging scene. The blog declares: This is a web log about European Union law for students, academics, practitioners and anyone else who may be interested in it. - I hope you are interested and that the EU Law Blog keeps up the good work.