On 14 March, Vivien Whyte met with Mr. Alvaro De Elera, Member of the Cabinet of the First Vice-President of the European Commission Mr. Frans Timmermans and presented him with a copy of the White Paper for a Rechtspfleger/Greffier for Europe.Continue reading 14 March 2019, Brussels: President Whyte Meets Mr. Alvaro De Elera
As part of the regular meetings between the EUR and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice, Vivien Whyte met on 8 March with Ms. Niovi Ringou, head of the Justice Policy Unit to discuss possible evolutions in the content of the EU Justice Scoreboard.
Indeed, the Scoreboard presents figures on the efficiency of European justice systems, including the number of judges per 100 000 inhabitants, but does not mention Rechtspfleger or other non-judge staff. In all countries, non-judge staff are essential to the good functioning of courts. Variations in their numbers have a significant impact both in terms of efficiency and quality of justice. Thanks to their unique position close to the citizen, they are also a key element of public confidence.
In addition, in twelve EU Member States, Rechtspfleger or similar professions relieve judges from part of their workload, allowing them to focus on complex contentious cases. Data on this precious resource, which in some countries (Austria, Poland…) handle 80 % of civil cases, should be included in the Scoreboard to give an objective image of justice systems in the EU.
President Whyte developed these points again during the meeting and expressed his hope that they will be taken into consideration for the next edition of the EU Justice Scoreboard.
On 7 March, Vivien Whyte met with Ms. Sylvie Guillaume, Vice-President (S&D) of the European Parliament and a Member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Homme Affairs Committee (LIBE).Continue reading 7 March 2019, Brussels: EUR received at the European Parliament
Vivien Whyte and Dumitru Fornea met with Mr José Antonio Moreno Díaz (Spain), President of the European Economic and Social Committee’s Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law.
The Group, created in January 2018, is « a horizontal body within the EESC tasked to provide a forum for European civil society organizations to meet and share their assessment on the state of fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law in the Member States ». As such, they are visiting European countries to consult with civil society (e.g. Poland last December https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/news-media/news/strong-democracy-must-allow-criticism).
This year, the Group will visit more countries and present a report on their findings. President Whyte ensured Mr. Moreno Diaz of the EUR’s interest and willingness to contribute to the Group’s work.
The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss EUR proposals as included in the White Paper for a Rechtspfleger for Europe as well as the situation of non-judge staff in several countries where they are currently facing particular difficulties (Romania, Spain, Portugal…).
Vivien Whyte and Dumitru Fornea also met with Mr Arno Metzler (Germany), President of EESC’s Diversity Europe Group to discuss issues of common interest and how to advance in the pursuit of our goals.
Finally, Vivien Whyte and Dumitru Fornea presented their congratulations to Mr Oliver Röpke (Austria) on his election as President of EESC’s Workers Group. Mr Röpke will be replacing Ms Gabriele Bischoff (Germany), a candidate for the European Parliament. He vowed to « continue fighting for democracy and decent living and working conditions for all workers in Europe ».
EUR will keep working with the European Economic and Social Committee towards further recognition and involvement of our professions in upholding the rule of law in Europe.
President Vivien Whyte attended the General Assembly of the European Land Registry Association (ELRA) that took place in Brussels on 30 November 2018.
The event included a very interesting discussion on the nature of land registry data, moderated by Professor Teresa Rodriguez de las Heras of the University Carlos III (Madrid), a représentative from the European Commission and representatives from land registries in Portugal, Ireland and the Netherlands. The intricate nature of land registry data, combining personal and nonpersonal data, gives rise to numerous issues when considering the new GDPR regulation. Free movement of data has to be balanced with lawfulness of data usage. As such, a middle ground needs to be found between an open-data system and a controlled access system, defining a data access model that would give the opportunity to filter.Continue reading 30 November 2018, Brussels, Belgium: ELRA General Assembly
After the European Justice Stakeholders Forum, EUR President Vivien Whyte and Treasurer Catherine Assioma attended an event organized by the International Bar Association at the European Parliament on “What makes for a healthy democracy?”
Mr Michał Boni MEP hosted the event, which included keynote speeches from several other European political leaders.Continue reading 6 November 2018, Brussels, Belgium: “What Makes for a Healthy Democracy?”
On 6 November 2018, Mr Arno Metzler, President Group III, EESC, hosted the third annual plenary of the European Justice Stakeholders Forum on the theme: Upholding the EU values in Article 2 TEU. President Metzler insisted on the importance of equality before the law and protection. Indeed, protection is sometimes not adequate. That is why Group III has launched a campaign against populism.Continue reading 6 November 2018, Brussels, Belgium: European Justice Stakeholders Forum
Following the conference organised by the EUR and the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 10 March 2018, Vivien Whyte met with President Arno Metzler in Brussels on 12 July 2018.
Mr Metzler, from Germany, is the new President of the « Diversity Europe » Group of the EESC. The Group comprises representatives and stakeholdes of civil society, particularly in the economic, civic, professional and cultural field. Its goal is to achieve « real participatory democracy in the European Union, through civil dialogue ». A lawyer by trade, President Metzler has first-hand knowledge of the Rechtspfleger.
The two Presidents discussed the current role of the Rechtspfleger and similar professions in the strengthening of justice systems across Europe. They also talked about possible EUR involvement in several EESC projects relating to the rule of law. Indeed, EUR proposals for a Rechtspfleger for Europe are in the straight line of current EESC activity in this area.
Following the conference organized by the EUR and the European Economic and Social Committee on 15 March, Vivien Whyte met on 12 April with five representatives of the European Commission, including Niovi Ringou, deputy head of the Justice Policy Unit of the Directorate General of Justice and Ms Diana Ungureanu, member of the General Criminal Justice and Judicial Training Unit. Continue reading Brussels, 12 April 2018: meeting with the European Commission
In European courts there is a place, alongside judges and prosecutors, for a jurisdictional body that renders decisions independently in areas that do not require the intervention of a judge or prosecutor.
Inspired by the German and Austrian models, the Greffier/Rechtspfleger for Europe, is an independent judicial organ, anchored in the constitutional order and performing the functions assigned to it by law. Continue reading Brussels, 15-16 March 2018: presentation of the Greffier/Rechtspfleger for Europe to the European Economic and Social Committee