Press conference by Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC, on a proposal for a Regulation on simplifying administrative formalities of certain public documents in the EU
Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, gave a press conference entitled "Cutting red tape in the Members States" on a proposal for a Regulation on simplifying administrative formalities of certain public documents in the EU.
Citizens who moved to another Member State had to spend a lot of time and money in order to demonstrate that their public documents (such as birth or marriage certificates) issued by their Member State of origin were authentic. This involved the so-called 'Apostille' certificate which was used by public authorities in other states as proof that public documents, or the signatures of national officials on documents, were genuine.
Businesses operating across EU borders in the EU’s Single Market were also affected. For instance, they would often be required to produce a number of certified public documents in order to prove their legal status when operating cross-border. These requirements dated from an era when countries would only trust a public document if it came from the foreign office of another country.
The EC was therefore proposing to scrap the 'Apostille' stamp and a further series of arcane administrative requirements for certifying public documents for people living and working in other Member States.