Throughout 2013 and into 2014, Citizens' Dialogues were held all across Europe. Now the debate has reached Amsterdam. On 14 March Vice-President Reding and Eberhard Van Der Laan, Mayor of Amsterdam debated with over 250 Dutch citizens.
Today the European Commission adopted a new framework for addressing systemic threats to the rule of law in any of the EU's 28 Member States. The new framework, presented by President Barroso and Vice-President Reding establishes an early warning tool allowing the Commission to enter into a dialogue with the Member State concerned to prevent the escalation of systemic (...)
Tomorrow we celebrate the 103rd anniversary of International's Women Day – a century of progress and over fifty years Europe has shaping progress towards gender equality. With laws guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, equality in the workplace and minimum rights to maternity leave, this is something we can and should be proud of: gender equality is a European achievement.
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.