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EU Commission outlines its vision for the future of EU Justice policy

12 March, 2014

The European Commission outlined on Tuesday its vision for the future of EU justice policy to be premised on trust, mobility and growth by 2020.

"We have come a long way, but there is more to do to develop a true European area of Justice," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU`s Justice Commissioner, adding "building bridges between the different justice systems means building trust. A truly European Area of Justice can only work optimally if there is trust in each other`s justice systems. We also have to focus on two other challenges: the mobility of EU citizens and business in an area without internal borders, and the contribution of EU justice policy to growth and job creation in Europe."

In shaping the future of EU justice policy, the Commission identifies three key challenges: enhancing mutual trust, facilitating mobility, and contributing to economic growth.

According to a press release issued by the Commission, mutual trust is considered as "the bedrock upon which EU justice policy should be built."

"While the EU has laid important foundations for the promotion of mutual trust, it needs to be further strengthened to ensure that citizens, legal practitioners and judges fully trust judicial decisions irrespective of in which Member State they have been taken," the release notes.

As nearly 14 million EU citizens residing in a Member State of which they are not a national, the Commission stresses that Justice policy should continue, as a priority, to remove obstacles to EU citizens exercising their right to move freely and live in any EU country.

With regard to growth, the Commission notes that over the past years, justice policies have been mobilised to support companies, growth and economic stability by improving access to justice and facilitating the resolution of disputes, adding in future, EU justice policy should continue to support economic recovery, growth and tackling unemployment. Structural reforms are needed to ensure that justice systems can deliver swift, reliable and trustworthy justice.

"Businesses need to be confident that they will be able to enforce contracts and handle litigation effectively throughout the EU, without encountering the hurdles they still confront today," the release notes.

As for the way ahead, the Commission notes that the Communication adopted yesterday will feed into further discussions, notably those of the European Council on 24 June.

"We have come a long way, but there is more to do to develop a true European area of Justice," said Reding.