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Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union - Justice

Priorities

The achievement of the objectives set for the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union involves different areas of government, which have elected their own political lines of action.

With regard to Justice, the aim is to ensure the right of access to Justice, in particular for vulnerable adults, to continue the digitalisation process, to protect citizens against counterfeiting of products, to protect and strengthen fundamental rights and the Rule of Law, to combat terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime, and to strengthen criminal and civil judicial cooperation, as well as police cooperation, within its sphere of action.

The following priorities have therefore been identified:

  • Protection of vulnerable adults

The protection of vulnerable adults who, due to a disability or inadequacy in their capacities, face aggravated challenges and difficulties in the exercise of their rights, in the defence of their interests and in the access to justice, is an issue that must be placed on the European agenda. The current state of protection within the Union will be assessed, and initiatives will be promoted with a view to adopting measures for legislative approximation and mutual recognition of judicial decisions within the scope of civil judicial cooperation. The same shall happen to the effective exercise of their rights in criminal proceedings, as suspects, defendants or witnesses, and to the strengthening of their protection as victims of crimes.

Actions to be carried out:

  • To respond to the challenges faced by vulnerable adults, in the protection of their rights and in the access to justice in the EU

  • To promote the evaluation of the current state of protection within the Union and of initiatives for the adoption of measures for legislative approximation and recognition of judicial decisions within the framework of civil judicial cooperation and for the effective exercise of rights in criminal proceedings

  • To promote initiatives for the adoption of measures for legislative approximation and recognition of judicial decisions in the framework of the judicial cooperation in civil matters

  • To promote initiatives for the adoption of measures for legislative approximation or others to ensure the effective exercise of rights in criminal proceedings, as defendants, suspects or witnesses, and to strengthen their protection as victims of crimes.

  • The use of new technologies at the Justice service

The use of new technologies at the Justice service, the relevance of which COVID-19 has made even more evident, is of particular importance. Attention will be paid to the interoperability of the European legal and judicial systems and of the computer systems of the Member States, as well as the negotiation of the proposal for an e-CODEX Regulation, as a digital tool for improving cooperation in the European area. Due consideration will also be given to the use of artificial intelligence in the justice systems, as well as to the civil liability issues arising from its use.

Actions to be carried out:

  • Negotiation of the proposal for a Regulation on e-CODEX

  • Implementation of the Commission’s Communication on the Digitalisation of Justice

  • Roll-out of the European e-Justice Action Plan

  • Counterfeiting in its connection with organised crime

Counterfeiting, in its connection with organised crime, poses serious risks to public health and citizens’ safety, increasing illegal work, illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings. The aim is to strengthen police and judicial cooperation, in particular through approximation of national laws, taking into account the growing involvement of organised criminal groups in the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit products, which increasingly use the Internet and social networks.

Actions to be carried out:

  • Strengthen the cooperation in the fight against counterfeiting linked to organised crime with a view to protecting intellectual property rights through criminal law
  • Judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters
    • Implementation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office

    • Strengthening the cooperation in the fight against counterfeiting linked to organised crime with a view to protecting intellectual property rights through Criminal Law

    • E-evidence

      • Negotiation of the e-evidence package with the European Parliament

      • Negotiation of the Agreement between the EU and USA on e-evidence

      • Negotiation of the Second Additional Protocol to the Cybercrime Convention

    • Implementation of the European Strategy on Victims’ Rights 2020-2025

    • Negotiation of the proposal for a Regulation on assignments of claims

  • Fundamental rights and the Rule of Law
    • Review of the Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights

    • Follow-up on the European citizenship Report

    • Review of the Regulation establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

    • Strengthen the fight against discrimination, racism and xenophobia and hate speech

    • EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights

  • Police cooperation (Justice matters)
    • Review of the Europol Regulation

    • Strengthen the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime

    • Conclusion of the current Political Cycle on the fight against Organised and Serious International Crime and launch of the next Cycle

    • Implementation of the European Strategy on Victims’ Rights 2020-2025

    • Include counterfeiting in EMPACT priorities for the period 2021-2025

    • Strengthen the cooperation between the Member States and European agencies (EUROJUST and EUROPOL), as well as with third countries.

Information updated on 23 March 2021 12:57