Extracts from the joint press conference by Viviane Reding and Cecilia Malmström on SWIFT
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 24/03/2010 First transmission: 24/03/2010
Press conference on SWIFT of the 24/04/2010.
Each year in the EU there are about 140,000 international couples who get divorced, which is around 19% of all separations. The crucial question is: which law applies in such cases? People need legal certainty in such difficult situations because this can determine which parent will get custody rights for children and how joint property will be divided.
To make life easier for international couples who are in the unfortunate situation of having to go through a divorce, the European Commission proposed a Regulation giving international couples the ability to choose which country's rules apply to their divorce or separation. Under the proposals:
Couples will have more legal certainty, predictability and flexibility.
Spouses and their children would be spared from complicated, drawn-out and painful procedures.
When couples from different countries want to separate, they need to know which law a court will apply for their divorce.
At the moment, the partner who can afford travel costs and legal fees can "rush to court" in another country so that the case is governed by a law that safeguards his interests. The proposals are thus designed to protect weaker spouses from disadvantaged in divorce proceedings.
The Commission originally proposed a Regulation on this subject in 2006 (the so-called Rome III proposal). The proposal never secured the required unanimity of Member States. Since then however, 10 EU countries said they would like to advance the proposal.
Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, has decided to use the so-called enhanced cooperation procedure to finally break the deadlock. This would be the first use of enhanced cooperation in the EU's history. The procedure requires the participation of at least nine EU-Member States. Other EU countries are free to join whenever they want.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and Cecilia Malmström, Member ofthe EC in charge of Home Affairs
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Cecilia Malmström: It concerns elements on rights to an effective redress on a non discriminatory basis, elements on rights of access, rectification and ratio of data, greater transparency, a regular reporting to the Commission and of course the Commission will regularly report to the European Parliament. It says that all request for data must be approved by a judicial public authority, it includes several data protection elements and it says that EU can terminate the agreement in the event of breach of any data protection safeguards. It also sets out that a future agreement must ensure that member States, authorities as well as Europol and Eurojust can have access and fully benefit from the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (TFTP).
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Viviane Reding: There are the same rights to complain to a US court as for the American citizens, and their data which can only be taken out on a very selective way cannot be passed on to third parties, and very important also that it is a judicial public authority in Europe which rallies with the United States request to transfer a data. So all the remarks, which were rightly so made by the European Parliament has been taken on board so that I am very confident that the Parliament which works in the interest of our European citizens can agree with this proposal.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Viviane Reding: It is written in this mandate that we would like to set up our own terrorist financing tracking up programme, the European side of this. I believe that that would be very important that is a lot of work to do for the future but that is a way we are going to proceed in the next coming round, so negotiate with the Americans on Swift, then build up the framework for all the protection of data in all the agreements with our American friends and counterparts and then trying to take our own responsibilities here in Europe in order to preserve our freedoms and our security.
||Cutaway (5 shots)