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Role of Advocates General at the CJEU

10-10-2019

The institution of the Advocate General was introduced into the Treaty of Rome under the influence of the French delegation during the preparation of the Treaty. The French were staunchly opposed to allowing individual judges to present dissenting or concurring opinions, and instead proposed this be done by an Advocate General, a figure modelled on the French commissaire du gouvernement, who offers legal advice to the Conseil d'État on the cases being tried. Initially, there were two Advocates General ...

The institution of the Advocate General was introduced into the Treaty of Rome under the influence of the French delegation during the preparation of the Treaty. The French were staunchly opposed to allowing individual judges to present dissenting or concurring opinions, and instead proposed this be done by an Advocate General, a figure modelled on the French commissaire du gouvernement, who offers legal advice to the Conseil d'État on the cases being tried. Initially, there were two Advocates General – one French and one German. Over time, this number increased, and a number of Advocates General posts were permanently assigned to the larger Member States, whilst the remaining ones were 'rotated' among the smaller countries. Today, there are 11 Advocates General, six of these posts are permanently assigned to the larger Member States. Advocates General are Members of the Court of Justice of the EU, and are appointed under the same procedure as judges. They enjoy the same privileges as judges (immunity), and cannot be removed from office before the end of their six-year term of office. They may be re-elected. Unlike judges, however, they only have an advisory role and do not take part in the decision-making on cases. As a matter of principle, the opinion of an Advocate General is sought in every case tried by the Court of Justice (CJ), unless the latter decides that there is no new point of law. This happens in roughly 30 % of the cases each year. Even though the General Court (GC) has the power to appoint ad hoc Advocates General, it does not now apply this in practice. In contrast to CJ judges, whose opinions are written in a formal and terse language that uses standard phrases and wording often borrowed from earlier judgments, the Advocates General can choose their own style. Again, unlike CJ judges, they also consider the interpretive alternatives and various options of deciding on a case, before proposing their own solution. In the absence of dissenting opinions filed by the CJ judges, the opinions of the Advocates General therefore play an important role and are referred to in later cases. The CJ is not bound by these opinions; nonetheless, according to empirical research, in the case of an action for annulment of an EU act, the CJ is 67 % more likely to annul it if doing so was advised by an Advocate General. This Briefing is one in a series aimed at explaining the activities of the CJEU.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Didier Reynders - Justice

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Reform of the Service of Documents Regulation

14-06-2019

In May 2018, the Commission put forward a proposal for amending the existing Regulation on Cross-border Service of Documents in civil proceedings. The proposal aims, above all, to replace the existing mechanisms of paper transmission with an electronic system. National information technology (IT) systems would be connected into one network, and the use of paper transmission would become an exception, available only in the event of a failure of the electronic system. Within Parliament, a draft report ...

In May 2018, the Commission put forward a proposal for amending the existing Regulation on Cross-border Service of Documents in civil proceedings. The proposal aims, above all, to replace the existing mechanisms of paper transmission with an electronic system. National information technology (IT) systems would be connected into one network, and the use of paper transmission would become an exception, available only in the event of a failure of the electronic system. Within Parliament, a draft report was prepared by the Legal Affairs Committee in October 2018, and in February 2019, the institution adopted its first-reading position on the proposal. Within Council, following an exchange of views between delegations and work at technical level, a policy debate is envisaged. Once Council reaches a general approach, trilogue negotiations will be able to start.

Revising the Taking of Evidence Regulation

27-05-2019

On 31 May 2018, the Commission proposed a proposal for a new regulation on taking of evidence in civil proceedings. It takes stock of the existing regulation (from 2001), but provides for a number of changes to remove legal uncertainty and to promote electronic communications. Parliament adopted its legislative resolution on the proposal on 13 February 2019. The main points of Parliament's position include modifying the definition of the term 'court', to mean any authority in a Member State that ...

On 31 May 2018, the Commission proposed a proposal for a new regulation on taking of evidence in civil proceedings. It takes stock of the existing regulation (from 2001), but provides for a number of changes to remove legal uncertainty and to promote electronic communications. Parliament adopted its legislative resolution on the proposal on 13 February 2019. The main points of Parliament's position include modifying the definition of the term 'court', to mean any authority in a Member State that is competent under the laws of that Member State to take evidence according to this regulation (i.e. not only judicial bodies). Parliament also considers that any decentralised information technology (IT) system for cross-border communication of evidence must be based on e-CODEX, and that the use of videoconferencing or any other appropriate distance communication technology should be subject to the consent of the person to be heard. Any electronic systems used to take evidence must also ensure that professional secrecy and legal professional privilege (lawyers' secrets) are duly protected. The discussion in Council is ongoing, thus trilogue negotiations on the proposal have not yet been able to commence.

Fight against fraud: Pericles 2020, Hercule III and AFIS

09-04-2019

Pericles 2020 is an exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting. Hercule III is a programme aimed at supporting action to combat irregularities, fraud and corruption affecting the EU budget. AFIS is a collection of applications for the exchange of anti-fraud information between OLAF and national administrations.

Pericles 2020 is an exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting. Hercule III is a programme aimed at supporting action to combat irregularities, fraud and corruption affecting the EU budget. AFIS is a collection of applications for the exchange of anti-fraud information between OLAF and national administrations.

Discharge for 2017 budget – EU decentralised agencies and joint undertakings

22-03-2019

During the March II plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on discharge to EU decentralised agencies and joint research undertakings for their implementation of the 2017 budget. The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) proposes to grant discharge to all joint undertakings and agencies, save for the European Asylum Support Office whose discharge would be postponed due to serious irregularities.

During the March II plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on discharge to EU decentralised agencies and joint research undertakings for their implementation of the 2017 budget. The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) proposes to grant discharge to all joint undertakings and agencies, save for the European Asylum Support Office whose discharge would be postponed due to serious irregularities.

2017 report on protection of the EU's financial interests – Fight against fraud

28-01-2019

In September 2018, the European Commission published its annual report on the fight against fraud affecting EU financial interests in 2017. The total value of the 15 213 irregularities reported in 2017 amounted to €2.58 billion, a decrease of 8.6 % in comparison to 2016. However, the value of the reported fraudulent irregularities amounted to €467 million, representing an increase of 19.4 % in comparison to 2016.

In September 2018, the European Commission published its annual report on the fight against fraud affecting EU financial interests in 2017. The total value of the 15 213 irregularities reported in 2017 amounted to €2.58 billion, a decrease of 8.6 % in comparison to 2016. However, the value of the reported fraudulent irregularities amounted to €467 million, representing an increase of 19.4 % in comparison to 2016.

Customs 2020 and Fiscalis 2020 (2014-2020)

13-12-2018

The Customs 2020 programme was established by Regulation No 1294/2013 and is aimed at supporting the functioning of the customs union. The Fiscalis 2020 programme was established by Regulation No 1286/2013 and is aimed at improving the operation of the taxation systems in the internal market and supporting cooperation between the EU Member States.

The Customs 2020 programme was established by Regulation No 1294/2013 and is aimed at supporting the functioning of the customs union. The Fiscalis 2020 programme was established by Regulation No 1286/2013 and is aimed at improving the operation of the taxation systems in the internal market and supporting cooperation between the EU Member States.

Action for damages against the EU

07-12-2018

Most legal systems, both of states and of international organisations, provide for the liability of public administrations for damage done to individuals. This area of the law, known as 'public tort law', varies considerably from country to country, even within the European Union (EU). The EU Treaties have, from the outset, provided for liability of the EU for public torts (wrongs), in the form of action for damages against the EU, now codified in the second and third paragraphs of Article 340 of ...

Most legal systems, both of states and of international organisations, provide for the liability of public administrations for damage done to individuals. This area of the law, known as 'public tort law', varies considerably from country to country, even within the European Union (EU). The EU Treaties have, from the outset, provided for liability of the EU for public torts (wrongs), in the form of action for damages against the EU, now codified in the second and third paragraphs of Article 340 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). However, these rules are notoriously vague and brief, and refer to the 'general principles common to the laws of the Member States' as the source for the rules of EU public tort law. Since the laws of the Member States on public torts differ significantly, the reference has been treated by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as empowerment to develop EU public tort law in its own case law. The rules developed by the CJEU have been criticised by some academics as being very complex, non-transparent and unpredictable. Experts have also pointed out that the threshold of liability is set so high that actions for damages prove successful in very few cases only. According to the data available, from the establishment of the EU until 2014, the Court only actually granted compensation to applicants in 39 cases. As a result, some scholars have even pointed out that the principle of EU liability for public torts is 'illusory' and that action for damages is not an effective means of protecting fundamental rights. Other academics add that the question of establishing the principles of EU public tort law is not merely a technical issue, but a political one, as it touches upon fundamental questions of distributive justice and the form of government in the Union, and therefore should be the subject of democratic debate. This Briefing is one in a series aimed at explaining the activities of the CJEU.

Expedited settlement of commercial disputes

05-12-2018

The value of cross-border civil litigation is estimated at €7.7 billion annually. However, enforcing cross-border commercial contracts in national courts is cumbersome due to often protracted civil proceedings and divergences in national procedural rules. The Legal Affairs Committee suggests to remedy this by creating a European expedited civil procedure, and possibly even establishing a European commercial court. The committee’s legislative-initiative report is due to be debated during the December ...

The value of cross-border civil litigation is estimated at €7.7 billion annually. However, enforcing cross-border commercial contracts in national courts is cumbersome due to often protracted civil proceedings and divergences in national procedural rules. The Legal Affairs Committee suggests to remedy this by creating a European expedited civil procedure, and possibly even establishing a European commercial court. The committee’s legislative-initiative report is due to be debated during the December plenary session.

Prihajajoči dogodki

16-10-2019
State of the Union: The view from regions and cities
Drug dogodek -
EPRS
17-10-2019
What Europe is Thinking: The latest Pew survey of opinion in 14 EU Member States
Drug dogodek -
EPRS
05-11-2019
The Art and Craft of Political Speech-writing: A conversation with Eric Schnure
Drug dogodek -
EPRS

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