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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Europe, the Law, and the German legal profession: a comment from Luxembourg

EU Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding spoke at the German Congress for the Legal Profession in Munich on the subjects of privacy law, gender equality, EU group action lawsuits and the optional European Sale of Goods Act. But above all, she spoke about the German debate over the idea of 'legal transgression' in the euro rescue plans.

Excerpts from the speech:

"'In this time of a crisis of confidence, the law comes to play a particular role. Law and its reliability are the basis of confidence. The law is, so to speak, the common currency of the rule of order. If the citizen cannot trust the law on a permanent basis, then the rule of order comes to an end.

Therefore, I have followed with interest the debate in Germany, conducted in the media for the past several months, about the law in the current crisis situation.

"Legal transgression” is the phrase that most stands out to me from the German coverage of the crisis, and it is the topic where the German public debate most sharply differs from that which is carried out in other Member States.

Is this talk of "permanent legal transgression" not a grotesque disregard for the continued attempts by all politicians conscious of their responsibility, whether in the executive or legislative branches, in Berlin or Brussels or Luxembourg or Frankfurt am Main, to protect and stabilise our common currency according to legal standards?

I am completely convinced that neither in Brussels nor in Berlin nor here in Munich would we be able to find wilful transgressors of the law in positions of political responsibility. Rather I see politicians, conscious of their responsibility, who are also perfectly aware of the meaning of the law."