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News CNUE, 26 October 2023

Conference “Strengthening the Protection of Adults in the EU” – European Parliament, 25 October 2023

On 25 October 2023, on the occasion of the European Day of Justice, the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE), together with MEP Stelios KYMPOUROPOULOS, organised a conference at the European Parliament on the topic of “Strengthening the protection of adults in the EU”.

Following the publication of a legislative package by the European Commission last May, the event was an opportunity to bring together representatives of the European institutions and practitioners to discuss the improvements achieved in recent years and the challenges that still lie ahead.

This package contains a proposal for a Council Decision authorising 14 Member States that are not currently contracting parties to the Hague Convention of 13 January 2000 on the Protection of Adults to become so, as well as a proposal for a Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of measures and cooperation in respect of the protection of adults, which seeks to simplify and improve cooperation within the EU.

The proposal for a Regulation aims to facilitate both the determination of the competent courts in the Member States and the applicable law, as well as the recognition and enforcement of protective measures taken in another Member State. The initiative is a step towards greater digitalisation of procedures, in particular through the creation of national registers and their interconnection, which the CNUE has been advocating for many years. Finally, the introduction of a European certificate will make it easier for representatives to demonstrate their powers and assert their rights in another EU Member State.

In his opening speech, MEP Stelios KYMPOUROPOULOS pointed out that “oftentimes, differing rules and procedures create barriers for vulnerable adults and their families to have their rights and protective measures recognised in cross-border situations” and stated that “the Commission’s proposals represent a significant step towards resolving these challenges”.

The President of the CNUE, Peter STELMASZCZYK, echoed the MEP’s comments, stating that “the CNUE warmly welcomes the European Commission’s initiative and the objectives and values expressed therein”. He went on to say that “the fact that the European legislator is aware of the increasing need for a harmonised legal framework and is reacting accordingly is an important step towards a more inclusive European society“. Finally, he drew attention to the efforts undertaken by the CNUE, in particular with regard to the training of notaries and the setting up of the “Vulnerable in Europe” website (www.the-vulnerable.eu), and his wish to see contacts with organisations active in this field developed.

Ms Eftychia Karastathi, a Greek notary and a member of the CNUE Board of Directors, added that the proposal for a Regulation represented a considerable step forward in respecting the right to autonomy enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this respect, she highlighted the role of notaries in providing institutional support to ensure that people with disabilities receive all the information and recommendations they need to exercise their rights on an equal footing.

The European Commissioner for Justice, Didier REYNDERS, also intervened via a video message. He stressed that notaries were key actors in ensuring this right to autonomy, and then thanked the CNUE for its engagement regarding the published initiative.

Following the opening speeches, a panel discussion was held with the participation of :

  • Marie VAUTRAVERS, Secretary of the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters
  • Ruth ÁLVAREZ VINAGRE, Adviser to the Ministry of Justice at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Institutions
  • Marine ULDRY, Human Rights Policy Coordinator, European Disability Forum

Almudena CASTRO-GIRONA, President of the Human Rights Commission of the International Union of Notaries (UINL), moderated the discussions and presented the conclusions of the conference. In her view, “the step taken by the European Union is understandable insofar as the issue of the protection of adults in cross-border situations directly concerns the very heart of the free movement of persons”. However, “the challenge of this proposal is to coordinate or merge the EU text and the Hague Convention under the aegis of the New York Convention, which is far from simple”. In this respect, she reiterated the willingness of the notariat to work together with the European institutions.

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