Lithuanian Presidency reaches agreement on European Account Preservation Order

06 December 2013, Last updated at, 18:04 EET
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author: The Council of the European Union

European Union Justice Ministers on December 6 in Brussels have agreed on the Regulation creating a European Account Preservation Order to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters as well as on the so-called Brussels I Regulation.

The Justice Council reached an agreement on the proposal for Regulation creating a European Account Preservation Order which will create a new, fast and inexpensive European procedure for creditors to request a court to issue an order for preserving the funds of a debtor in a bank account held in another Member State. Implementation of the order will secure the possibility to enforce future judgement satisfying creditor’s claim against the debtor.

“Lithuanian Presidency has given high priority to this proposal; therefore we are very happy with the achieved result. We expect that the agreement that has just been reached as a compromise solution after two-years of negotiations will serve as a very good basis for our trio partner Greece in finalising the work with the European Parliament and the European Commission”, said chair of the Council, Lithuanian Minister of Justice Juozas Bernatonis.

Justice Ministers also reached an agreement on the proposal suggesting amendments to the Regulation on the jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (“Brussels I” Regulation). The amendments will ensure coherence between the Unified Patent Court agreement and the Brussels I Regulation. They will contribute to the creation of both unitary patent protection and unitary patent litigation system in the EU.

Ministers presented Member States’ positions on one of the key issues in the proposal for the General Data Protection Regulation, the so-called “one-stop-shop” principle. According to the proposal of the European Commission (EC) this principle would set that when activities of the undertaking in the EU takes place in more than one Member State, the obligation for cooperation with national data protection authority would be limited to the authority of the main establishment of that undertaking.

“Data protection reform has been the key priority for the Lithuanian Presidency in the justice area; and we did our utmost to achieve progress. We discussed it in all ministerial meetings and 20 experts’ meetings and the Member States noted today how much progress we made. We prefer a strong agreement to a fast one, and must work to ensure a proper balance between business interests and fundamental rights of citizens,” said Minister Bernatonis.

In discussions on the proposal for amendments of Insolvency regulation the ministers presented their positions on certain key issues of the proposal: jurisdiction of insolvency proceedings, functioning of insolvency registers and data protection issues, cooperation between courts and insolvency practitioners in main and secondary insolvency proceedings. The Council agreed on political guidelines for further discussions of the text at expert level.

“The Proposal would bring great benefit for debtors and creditors throughout the European Union and would safeguard the development and the survival of businesses. The main principles, approved by the ministers, will pave the way for further discussions on key elements of the proposal,” said Minister Bernatonis.

The Council was informed about the outcome of the EU–US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting and approved the document on the contribution of the EU and its Member States to the ongoing debate on the reform of the surveillance programs. The activity report of the EU and US ad hoc Working Group on Data Protection, prepared by the co-chairs of the EU side, was also presented to the Council.

Ministers also continued active discussions on the future development of the JHA area, initiated during the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers in Vilnius in July. The Commission made a presentation on the European Semester 2014. It focused on how justice issues could contribute to achievements of the European Semester and how the Member States could cooperate with the Commission in preparation of justice scoreboards. The ministers adopted Council conclusions on the evaluation of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, on the EU Citizenship Report 2013 prepared by the Commission and on combating hate crime as well as the Strategy on European e-Justice for 2014–2018.

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