Vice-President Viviane Reding welcomed solid progress achieved today at the Justice Council. With constructive discussions on the data protection reform and the proposal for a European Public Prosecutor's Office, alongside agreements on two key proposals helping businesses to save money, today's developments constitute a step forward in creating a truly European area (...)
For the second year in a row, Equal Pay Day – marking the extra number of days that women would need to work in one calendar year to match the amount earned by men – falls on February 28. The gender pay gap – the average difference between women and men’s hourly earnings across the entire economy – has barely moved in recent years and still stands at around 16%.
Speaking at the Centre for European Policy Studies in September, Vice-President Reding outlined the possibilities of introducing a new rule of law framework for the European Union, calling on leaders to "be at least as ambitious when it comes to the rule of law and fundamental rights as the European Union currently is with building up new financial solidarity mechanisms, (...)
The Justice portfolio is new – it was only created with the start of this European Commission, under the leadership of President José Manuel Barroso, in 2010. I am thus the first EU Justice Commissioner who is also responsible for citizenship and fundamental rights. My department, the Directorate General for Justice, deals with a wide range of areas such as civil and commercial law, consumer protection legislation, data protection, criminal law, free movement of citizens and equality legislation.
Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights must be more than concepts. Fundamental rights are the foundation on which the European Union is built: they must be continuously respected and protected. This commitment is laid down in the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights – Europe's "Bill of Rights" and the most modern codification of fundamental rights recognised in national constitutions.
Citizens are at the heart of the European project. The EU is not for politicians, it is for people. This principle is what guides our work here in the European Commission. The Lisbon Treaty marks a real watershed in highlighting the importance of citizens: It underscores their vital role in advancing the European project. It has given them new opportunities to address the European institutions. And it challenges the EU institutions to create a real Citizens’ Europe.