Brussels, 24 October 2014
Statement by Commissioner Reicherts on the European Day of Justice
Ahead of the European Day of Justice tomorrow, I would like to reflect on how far we have come in developing a common European area of justice, and to celebrate the progress we have made together. Justice has now become an essential building block of our Union, based on common values, democracy and fundamental rights.
As Europe is slowly stepping out of the economic crisis, justice policies have become more important than ever. The successful economic recovery of Europe depends on the continued development of a common area of justice. Consumers must be able to trust that their rights are protected and businesses must be able to rely on a legal framework.
An efficient judicial system makes life easier for businesses and investors. It improves judicial cooperation through mutual recognition of judgements, so that citizens and companies can more easily exercise their rights and do business, wherever they are in Europe. It also allows for a digital single market, where all companies offering their goods or services in the EU are subject to the same consumer and data protection rules, no matter where their servers are based.
However, our work is far from complete. The European Day of Justice is also an opportunity to look at the issues that lie ahead. Technological advances raise new data protection challenges. Gender equality is an ongoing struggle and fair trial rights are not yet a reality everywhere in the EU. Minorities such as the Roma continue to suffer discrimination, while many citizens remain unaware of their rights.
Finally, with more and more citizens studying, working, doing business, getting married and having children across the Union, we must improve the judicial cooperation among EU Member States, step by step: by building bridges between the different judicial systems, by strengthening common tools such as Eurojust, and through new tools such as the European Public Prosecutor’s Office designed to tackle criminal fraud which damages the EU budget.