Freedom of movement means you are allowed to live, work or start a business in another EU country, but there are often bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. Getting public documents recognised can be costly and time consuming. On 12 November Parliament's legal affairs committee approved an agreement with the Council to make it easier. Before the vote, we spoke to Mady Delvaux , a Luxembourg member of the S&D group who negotiated with the Council on this, about how the new procedure would work.
How will Europen people and companies benefit from the new rules?
An EU citizen moving from one member state to another will not be required to provide an authentication stamp (Apostille) for the documents covered by this regulation. In two years' time, the European Commission will propose a report on the necessary business dimension of this regulation.
Will all documents be accepted without an authentication stamp?
Only the documents covered by this regulation They include legal status documents - such as marriage, legal partnership, birth, life and death certificates - as well as residence and domicile certificates, electoral rights status and absence of criminal records. The review clause will permit in the future to extend this to others areas like business, disabilities, education.
If an authority asks someone to provide a certified translation of the document, who will bear the costs?
This regulation creates multilingual standard forms to ease translation for several documents. For those documents, a translation will not be required anymore. The price of this form will not exceed its production cost or the cost of the public document to which the form is attached, whichever is lower.
Will a simple copy of for example a birth certificate be accepted instead of a certified copy with a translation? How can authorities be sure that the submitted copy is authentic?
A simple copy will not be accepted; the copies have to be certified. But the citizen can ask for a multilingual standard form which will be attached to the certificate. Thus, neither an Apostille nor a certified translation will be required. If the competent authority has a doubt about the validity of the document, it can check the authenticity of this document through the Internal Market Information System.
What will happen if a couple which entered in a legal partnership moves to a country where such partnership does not exist? Will their document be recognised?
This regulation aims to recognise the form of a public document and does not validate its content. For example, concerning a same-sex couple in a legal partnership moving to a member state where this situation is not accepted, they will be able to prove their status, but it will not give them rights which are not recognised by the member state.
If a person wants to enter a university in another member state, will their records of schooling and diplomas be accepted as they are?
It was a priority for the European Parliament but the governments in the Council were less supportive. As a result, the Commission will evaluate whether the scope of the regulation needs to be extended to such documents.
What was Parliament’s position in the negotiations with the Council? Which are the points Parliament considered particularly important?
We strongly defended citizens' rights by limiting fees for translation aid and by creating an obligation of information. Despite the opposition of a part of the Council, what could not be included at this stage in the scope is referred to in a strong review clause. This regulation is the first step of a longer process where the final goal would be to have common public documents within the EU.