EU Ministers of Justice today took a step forward regarding the adoption of the proposed Data Reform Regulation which aims at better protection of citizens’ rights and to boost growth. During the second and last day of the Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers, which was held at the ‘Filoxenia’ Conference Centre in Lefkosia (Nicosia), progress was also made concerning the Proposal for a Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the EU.
The discussion on Data Protection led to convergence of opinions on three important issues, which the Cyprus Presidency raised. The issue of cost for enterprises, especially small and medium sized ones, the implementation of common rules in the public and private sectors providing for certain exceptions, as well as the reconsideration of the powers that the Regulation vests in the Commission.
Wrapping up the particularly constructive discussion that took place, the Cypriot Minister of Justice and Public Order, Mr. Loucas Louca, described the issue of administrative burden as a very significant one,” especially during the current economic circumstances, when size enterprises need our support”. He further highlighted that, “as has been shown here today, attaining both goals is feasible, that is, the enhancement of the data protection framework and the simultaneous reduction of administrative burden, and it is towards this direction that we must work”.
On her part, the Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Mrs. Viviane Reding, praised the efforts of the Cyprus Presidency and especially the Justice Ministry’s team efforts for the issue of data protection. “The Cyprus Presidency has put us not in first gear but in fifth gear”, said Mrs. Reding, stressing that it’s necessary for the EU to move swiftly towards the protection of its citizens.
Non-conviction based confiscation of proceeds of crime
On the issue of non-conviction based confiscation of proceeds of crime, the vast majority of member states confirmed their support of the Proposal for a Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the EU, irrespective of a prior conviction of the owner in a criminal court.
However, as Minister Louca stressed, “this regulation must take into account the various legal systems of the member states with the aim to adopt such a provision that will be accepted by all of them”. Regarding the parameter of safeguards, he said:
“A safeguards system should be introduced in order to protect the legitimate rights of persons affected by the remedies foreseen in the draft Directive”.
Following the press conference, the Presidency invited Ministers to exchange views with regard to a number of aspects of the proposed regulation for the European Account Preservation Order to facilitate cross border debt recovery, including the necessity of striking a fair balance between the rights of the creditor and the rights of the debtor.
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Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus
Chairperson of the CATS Justice Committee
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Chairperson of the WP on Civil Law (G.Q., Brussels I, EAPO, Sales Law)
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Eva Rossidou - Papakyriacou
Law Office of the Republic
Chairperson of the WP on Substantive Criminal Law (Asset Recovery)
Permanent Representation of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU
Deputy Chairperson of Court of Justice Working Group, JHA Counselor
Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection, Data Protection Chair (DAPIX Data Protection)
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Ministry of Justice & Public Order
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Watch the press conference here
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