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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

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20/07/2010 - You have the right … to a Letter of Rights!

Thanks to a new Commission proposal, anyone suspected or accused of committing a crime will be informed of their rights – in their own language and no matter where they are in the European Union. Police officers in the EU will have to hand out a document – a Letter of Rights – which lists your rights as a suspect: to speak to an attorney, find out about the charge, have an interpreter and to be brought promptly to a court. It sounds like a TV police drama, but soon it will be reality throughout the EU.

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15/07/2010 - Launch of e-Justice Portal: Justice at a click

Citizens will get their first look at the first European e-Justice website on 16 July. The portal is the access point to justice throughout the EU. It will help citizens, businesses, lawyers and judges get answers on a variety of legal questions: How do I find a lawyer abroad? How can I search the land register of another Member State? How, as a judge, do I apply another country's law? The answers will be just a click away, available on the new e-Justice portal in 22 official EU languages. Explaining legal questions in an easy-to-understand way and drawing on information from the 27 Member States, the portal will boost mutual understanding of different legal systems and contribute to the creation of a single area of justice.

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07/07/2010 - Vice-President Reding's first official visit to Washington D.C.

Viviane Reding is travelling to Washington D.C. (8-9 July) to reinforce EU-US relations. She will meet Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland and Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to discuss the future EU-US Data Protection agreement. The sharing of data to help prevent and fight crime across both sides of the Atlantic requires mutual trust and a stable foundation for law enforcement. The EU's Justice Commissioner will also meet officials from the Federal Trade Commission to explore how the development of common standards could help boost transatlantic business opportunities and trade. The development of an optional European contract law, inspired by the US Uniform Commercial Code or helping the creation of a lead market for goods and services for people with disabilities – inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act – will also figure high on the agenda. Vice-President Reding will use this important visit to introduce the new head of her Justice Department – Director - General Françoise Le Bail, who will play a key role in negotiating the future EU-US data protection agreement.

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01/07/2010 - European Commission seeks contract law solutions to smooth Single Market for consumers and businesses

To address legal and administrative barriers in cross-border sales, the European Commission issued a strategic policy paper presenting several options for a more coherent approach to contract law. Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, said, "I want a Polish, German or Spanish consumer to feel as safe when doing business with an Italian, Finnish or French company online as when they are at home. And I want Europe's small and medium-sized companies to offer their products and services to consumers in other countries without having to become experts in the national contract law systems of all other 26 EU countries."

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