Fundamental Rights conference 'Ensuring access to justice in times of economic crisis':
- opening speech by Martin SCHULZ, EP President
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - EP
End production: 06/12/2012 First transmission: 06/12/2012
The right to access justice, as guaranteed in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, is fundamental to ensuring that fundamental rights are enforced in practice. Austerity measures are leading to cuts in public funding for justice institutions and legal aid programmes. Coupled with rising poverty and unemployment, people’s ability to seek redress becomes harder.
In some EU Member States, cuts in public spending have reduced budgets for courts and bodies with a human rights remit as well as funding for a number of measures supporting access to justice, such as legal aid programmes and victim support services provided by the non-governmental sector. At the same time, the poor financial situation and growing unemployment has a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable groups of society, such as people with disabilities, irregular migrants, children, limiting even further their possibilities to access justice.
The economic crisis affects all areas of economic and political life, requiring the distribution of already scarce resources among multiple and often conflicting priorities. It is therefore more important than ever to put a rights-based approach at the core of policy making, ensuring that the principles of fundamental rights guide decision making, taking into account both the rights of victims as well as those of the accused.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament building in Brussels
||General view of the ambience during the meeting (9 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (German) Martin SCHULZ, EP President: "The biggest worry is that the EU is still not a member of the European Human Rights Conventions. Despite constant efforts we have not been able to modernise the management of the Schengen area as far as the minimum standards are concerned for defenders who are making progress on it very slowly. One of the problems that I have been dealing with as a long time member of the Committee for the Civil Liberties of this House, and keep me worried, is the greater and greater danger of fragmentation of the area of Liberty, Freedom and Justice. We had an ambition start, we wanted to implement an area of Freedom and Liberty and Justice, but what we see is a permanent opting in and opting out. More than a 100 measures under the third pillar has still not been implemented. Measures which without the full participation of the EP, that they were adopted without the full participation of the EP, are not subject to control by the European Commission and the European Court of Justice".
||SOUNDBITE (German) Martin SCHULZ, EP President: "The EP takes its task very seriously, we will not reframe from the ringing alarm bells if plant international agreements. All legislation is jeopardised or might violate fundamental rights or not comply what reflect the international standards and also insist that the implementation of EU instruments should be completed and effective."
||SOUNDBITE (German) Martin SCHULZ, EP President: "Next Monday I will have the honour together with my colleague Barroso and my colleague Van Rompuy, I have the honour on behalf of all the citizens of the EU to receive the Peace Nobel Prize in Oslo. This Prize is a reminder that we need a Union that is based on common values and on respect of the fundamental rights. The combination of economic success and common values makes the EU unique across the world."
|| SOUNDBITE (English), Morten KJAERUM, Director, FRA (EU Agency of Fundamental Rights): "We will be presenting, the Fundamental Rights Agency will be presenting the Agency new report on access to justice in cases of discrimination in the EU for the first time at this very conference. While it highlights many concerns and challenges such as the complexity of complaints mechanisms, the awkwardly high threshold that sometimes needs to be passed, it also shows that there are many positives examples to drawn. So, let discuss together how we can nevertheless move forward in times of austerity".
||Cutaways (5 shots)