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Parliamentary questions
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8 July 2019
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001632/2019

Under the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Commission cannot intervene in individual criminal cases. The day-to-day administration of the justice systems of the Member States, including the prosecution of alleged offences and the review of criminal sentences, falls within the exclusive competence of Member States.

However, the Commission attaches great importance to the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings. Procedural rights Directives have been adopted by the European Union to date, including Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer(1) and Directive (EU) 2016/343 on presumption of innocence(2). Member States have to ensure that the rights of all suspects and accused persons as provided by these Directives are fully respected througout the criminal proceedings. If the assessment of the national measures transposing the directives raises non-conformity issues, the Commission will take every appropriate measure, including where necessary initiating infringement proceedings pursuant to Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

As the Commission stated in its reply to Written Question E-003214/2018, the Commission has no general powers to intervene in the area of fundamental rights, unless an issue of European Union law is involved. According to Article 51(1) of the Charter, its provisions are only addressed to Member States when they implement EC law and Article 6(1) of the Treaty of the European Union states that, ‘[t]he provisions of the Charter shall not extend in any way the competences of the Union as defined in the Treaties.’

(1)OJ L 294, 6.11.2013, p. 1.
(2)OJ L 65, 11.3.2016, p. 1.

Last updated: 10 July 2019Legal notice