Stockholm programme : MEPs seek balance between liberty and security

A European Court of Cyber Affairs, mutual
recognition by EU Member States of same-sex couples, and a set of
prisoners‘ rights in the EU should be incorporated in the 4-year
Stockholm programme of laws to consolidate EU citizens‘ rights, said
MEPs at a joint meeting of the Civil Liberties, Legal Affairs and
Constitutional Affairs committees on Thursday.

Members agreed on the need to strengthen the
EU’s common policy on the fight against terrorism, organised crime,
illegal immigration, human trafficking and sexual exploitation. A
comprehensive set of legal remedies should be offered to victims of
crime and in particular trafficking in human beings and gender
violence. Ethnic minorities are especially vulnerable, as they also
face the risk of becoming victims of discrimination and racist crime,
MEPs say.

The committees called for a European strategy
aiming at eradicating violence against women, including prevention
measures, policies on the protection of victims, in particular young
girls, and concrete measures to prosecute perpetrators.

A European Court of Cyber Affairs

highlighted the increase in identity theft and called for a strategy to
combat cybercrime, to be developed in co-operation with internet
providers. The setting up of a European Court of Cyber Affairs,
specialising in matters related to cyber crime should be examined. 

legal framework should be established to facilitate transfers of
criminal proceedings and the resolution of conflicts of jurisdiction
between Member States. Furthermore, an instrument should be created
to deal with the admissibility of evidence in criminal proceedings in
cross-border cases.

Mutual recognition applied to same-sex couples in the EU

committees called on Member States to ensure that the principle of
mutual recognition is applied to same-sex couples in the EU – notably
married couples, partners or de facto couples – at least in relation to
rights relating to freedom of movement. 

Immigration and asylum: towards more solidarity

proposed that illegal immigration be reduced via preventive measures.
Obstacles to the exercise of the right to family reunification should
also be addressed. "Circular" migration should be promoted, but should
not lead to wage or social dumping, or deny the necessity for
integration measures.

They call for an evaluation of Member
States‘ capacities in this field, and for a system of "compulsory and
irrevocable solidarity" between them, as well as greater co-operation
with third countries, and notably neighbouring ones. Regional and
specialized FRONTEX offices should also be set up.

A set of prisoner’s rights in the EU

citizens should be able to challenge disproportionate or unclear rules
and the inappropriate implementation of rules, MEPs say. Minimum
standards for prisons and detention conditions and a common set of
prisoners‘ rights in the EU should be established, including
appropriate compensation rules for persons unjustly detained or
convicted. EU funding should be provided for construction of new
detention facilities in Member States affected by prison overcrowding.

Data protection

and tighter limits should be placed on exchanges of information between
Member States and the use of EU registersup. Members add that building
up large registers at the EU level may pose a threat as the risk of
leaks and corruption will increase. EU citizens’ rights and rights of
protection, especially data protection, must be preserved and the
common justice and home affairs policy must remain subject to
parliamentary supervision, MEPs say. (AM 20)

A common frame of reference for European Contract law

called on the Commission to step up its work on European contract law,
with a view to adopting a common reference framework to enable parties
to a contract to choose to have it governed by EU rules.

draft resolution by Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Carlo
Casini (EPP, IT), and Luigi Berlinguer (S&D, IT) was adopted with
29 votes in favour, 18 against and 37 abstentions. The text will now be
put to a plenary vote at the 23-26 November session in Strasbourg. It
will then be adopted by the European Council on 10-11 December.

In the chair : Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE), Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES)