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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

My Mandate

Over the next five years, I will be the first EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

These are policy areas where citizens expect the most from policy-makers in Europe. By placing the citizens at the heart of all Union policies, the new Lisbon Treaty has effectively revolutionised European Union policy-making in these areas. The creation of this new post comes therefore at the right moment. As Vice-President of the European Commission I am committed to work for Europe's citizens and for a Europe of results.

I will make full use of the new possibilities offered by the Lisbon Treaty in the area of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. It is the right moment to re-orient our policies in this field and realise that there can be no freedom without both security and justice. My policy shall not be driven by fear but firmly based on our common values and on the concrete needs of our citizens.

I have set myself the following objectives:

  • Develop a truly European area of Justice based on mutual recognition and mutual trust. Citizens, consumers and businesses who exercise their free movement rights must be able to rely on and claim their rights within and across national borders. National judicial systems should not be barriers to access to justice, nor obstacles to greater mobility. In particular, I will work to start building a coherent European contract law, elaborate measures for resolving cross-border family law issues and strengthen European criminal law for cross-border crimes – both in terms of sanctions and procedural rights.
  • Be the Guardian of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is now legally binding on the Union. I will make sure that the Charter becomes the compass for all EU policies and that EU Member States respect it whenever EU law is implemented. I will work to create a strong and coherent European area of fundamental rights and will apply a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to violations of the EU Charter.
  • Take the lead in promoting EU Citizenship. Free movement is a core right of EU citizens and I will work to strengthen this right and encourage people to really use it. I want to focus on concrete measures to promote and protect citizens' rights in their daily lives. In particular, this will require stronger consular protection abroad, better access to information on EU affairs, an improved mutual recognition of national legal documents and certificates and better enforcement of the EU free movement rules in all 27 EU countries.
  • Be a strong Gender Equality Commissioner further strengthening gender equality throughout the Union and in all fields of EU policy. Reducing the gender pay gap, increasing the number of women in decision-making, and combating violence against women will be my priorities in this area.

My work will be firmly guided by the principle of collegiality.

I will work as part of the College of Commissioners, playing an active role in developing common policies for Europe, whilst fully respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

I will count on the expertise of the services of the Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security, Communication and Employment.

I will respect the Code of Conduct of the Members of the European Commission and fully cooperate with other EU institutions.

I am committed to defending the common European interest on a daily basis and constructing a Europe based on Justice and Fundamental Rights, where EU citizenship is more than just an abstract idea.

To find out more about Commissioner Reding’s aims and objectives, read also: