New EU Programmes to strengthen justice and rights adopted
After two years of negotiations, the ''Justice Programme'' and the ''Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme'' were adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 17 December. Both programmes will support the Commission's efforts to build an EU-wide area of justice and rights, focusing on activities with an increased added value at EU level. They are of particular relevance to the individual citizen in Europe as they will offer concrete financial support to various organizations specialized thematically in the areas of justice, fundamental rights and equal opportunities.
The overall aim of the Justice Programme is to help create a truly European area of Justice, based on mutual trust. It will promote judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, help train judges, prosecutors and other legal professionals, and support EU action to tackle drugs. Union legislation in the area of civil law and criminal law covers a broad spectrum from contractual law and insolvencies to procedural rights and victims' rights. The Justice Programme will support their effective and consistent application, and ensure proper access to justice for people and businesses in Europe. The Justice Programme is the successor of three current funding programmes (Civil Justice, Criminal Justice and Drug Prevention and Information Programmes). The budget for this programme is EUR 378 million over the period 2014-2020.
The Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme is meant to promote and protect specific rights and freedoms of persons deriving from EU law It will promote gender equality, combating all forms of discrimination and fighting racism. It will also continue to provide funding for Roma inclusion. This Programme will help EU citizens and consumers to exercise their rights, such as those deriving from the citizenship of the Union, from the consumer acquis or from the data protection legislation. The promotion of children's rights and fighting violence against women, young people and children will also be funded by this Programme. The Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme will replace three current funding programmes (Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Daphne III and two strands of the Progress Programme - Anti-discrimination and Gender Equality). The proposed budget for this programme is EUR 439 million over the period 2014-2020.
The first calls should be launched in April 2014, once the annual work programme for 2014 has been adopted.
Links to the new programmes in the Official Journal of the European Union (EN versions):