Justice Minister participates in the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg

The EU Ministers of Justice reached today to an agreement on the proposal for the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s office (EPPO), with the participation of 20 member state, including Cyprus. In the framework of the Council, the last one during the Maltese Presidency, the four-year effort was concluded, and the institution of the European Public Prosecutor is being implemented. Based on today’s decision, the EPPO will be stationed in Luxembourg.

The Minister of Justice and Public Order, Mr Ionas Nicolaou, in his intervention, stressed the significance of the decision for criminal justice in the Union and praised its importance, which constitutes the beginning of a new collective effort in European level and lays the basis for the fight against cross-border crimes of economic nature affecting the Union’s financial interests. At the same time, he expressed the hope that the institution will be enhanced with the participation of the remaining member states.

The EU Ministers also exchanged views on certain aspects of the regulation related to the international jurisdiction, acknowledgement and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial differences and differences of parental care, as well as to the international children kidnapping. Specifically, the Ministers discussed the need to ensure the hearing of children in all proceedings related to their custody, personal communication and return. Minister Nicolaou, in his intervention, stressed that the hearing right of the child, as guaranteed in the UN Convention for the Rights of Children, should constitute a priority for all. In this spirit, he added, a great effort has been made for the modernization of the national law, and we have proceeded with the amendment of the national legislation to ensure the free expression of the opinion of the child, aiming at sufficiently safeguarding that all decisions taken in the framework of judicial or other administrative proceedings, will firstly take into consideration the interests of the child. In the same context, he expressed the support of Cyprus to the interconnection of the hearing of the child with the opportunity to deny acknowledging and executing the decision, in the event the child is not given the opportunity to be heard.

During the afternoon session, the Ministers examined the draft text of the conclusions of the Council on the protection of children in migration, with the aim to develop protection measures for this group of children, who are exposed to the high risk of trafficking. In his intervention on the issue, Cyprus’ Minister of Justice noted that the protection of children should constitute a factor in the efforts for handling the migration crisis both in European and national level. At the same time, Mr Nicolaou expressed Cyprus’ support to a multidisciplinary approach to the issue of the protection of children, through the design of a comprehensive strategy that will include accommodation and psychological support, legal representation, education, medical care, etc.

Moreover, the Ministers agreed on the text of the Directive regarding the conventions of online purchases. This proposal is a part of the Single Digital Market Strategy, which aims at addressing the problems that prevent the growth of the cross-border e-commerce in the Union. Through the agreed text, the greatest harmonization is achieved of the legal regulations of the member states, thus safeguarding the main rights and obligations of consumers and businesses, in the cases of supplying digital content and online goods purchases.

Source: Press and Information Office