15 May 2019, Brussels: EUR Meets the European Commission’s Secretariat General

On 15 May 2019, President Vivien Whyte met Mr Marcel Haag, Director in charge of the European Semester and Mr Julien Mousnier, Head of the Citizens ‘Rights and Consumers’ Rights and Rule of Law Unit of the Secretariat General of the European Commission.

This meeting is part of EUR’s effort to give visibility to Rechtspfleger and other non-judge staff in the operational documents of the European Union. Indeed, these professions are essential to the functioning of the courts and thus of the economy. They also ensure a fundamental role as a link between citizens and their justice, strengthening public confidence in its institutions and thereby respect for the rule of law. In addition, in twelve Member States of the European Union, Rechtspfleger and similar professions relieve judges of a significant part of their work. By taking independent decisions in a variety of areas, they allow judges to focus on the most complex litigious cases.

The European authorities agreed on the essential role of non-judge staff in pursuing the objectives set by the European Semester and, more broadly, in preserving the rule of law. In particular, the situation of serious under-staffing of courts in Romania has been addressed.

Indeed, the court of appeal of Bucharest (largest court of the country) saw an increase of activity of 72% in 11 years whereas during the same period the number of court clerks only increased by 27%.

The future prospects of our professions in the light of technological advances, and in particular artificial intelligence, were also discussed.

The General Secretariat will ask the Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice to provide them with the data on non-judge staff needed for a comprehensive analysis of the judicial systems.