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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship


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15/02/2011 - EU Commission to strengthen Rights of Children

The European Commission adopted a political agenda for promoting and protecting the rights of children and implementing the principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. From talk to action: the agenda foresees eleven Commission actions over the coming years, including making justice systems in Europe more child friendly, better informing children about their rights and making the internet safer for kids. EU Justice Commissioner Reding stated that "Notably, child-friendly justice should make sure that the rights of the child are taken into account whenever children are involved with justice systems, either as victims, suspects or when their parents divorce and disagree over custody”. The list of actions also includes training for judges, guardians and public authorities, a revision of EU legislation facilitating the recognition and enforcement of decisions on parental responsibility and the creation of a children's section on EUROPA with information on the EU and on the rights of children.


09/02/2011 - One year in office as the first EU Justice Commissioner: "We are taking a quantum leap in building the European Justice Area."

Vice-President Viviane Reding marks one year in office as the EU’s first Justice Commissioner, protecting citizens’ rights and creating a single area of justice. Thanks to determined EU action, citizens now have the right to an interpreter and translated documents if they are suspects in criminal proceedings. Citizens will also be given a “letter of rights” – in their own language and drafted in understandable terms. The Commission is making it easier for citizens to take advantage of their right to move, travel and study abroad. For the first time in EU history, Justice Commissioner Reding used the enhanced cooperation procedure to deliver real results to citizens: international couples can now select which country's law would apply to their divorce. Viviane Reding is standing up for fundamental rights. When it became known that France took measures specifically targeted at the Roma, she ensured that France and other EU Member States change their free-movement legislation to grant procedural rights in case of expulsions.


02/02/2011 - Vice-President Reding welcomes vote on Consumer Rights Directive

Consumers can expect more legal certainty and rights when they shop online following a vote by the European Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said, “Both consumers and businesses can be satisfied at the progress now being made on this important proposal.” The proposed measure provides for one set of EU rights for consumers shopping at a distance or off-premises, such as from a door-to-door salesman. In addition, the new legislation will create a level playing field that will make it less costly for traders to offer their products to consumers in other countries.

The main changes are an extension of the withdrawal period for consumers to 14 days, a right of withdrawal for solicited visits and the creation of standard withdrawal forms. Before taking effect, the legislation must be approved by the plenary of the European Parliament (currently scheduled for March 2011).