Documents considered by the Committee on 27 June 2018 Contents

8Justice Programme

Committee’s assessment

Legally and politically important

Committee’s decision

(a) Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Justice Committee; (b) Cleared from scrutiny

Document details

(a) Proposed Regulation establishing the Justice Programme; (b) Commission Staff Working Document Impact Assessment Accompanying the Proposed Regulations establishing the Rights and Values Programme, the Justice Programme and the Creative Europe Programme

Legal base

(a)Articles 81(1), (2) and 82(1) TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV; (b)—

Department

Ministry of Justice

Document Numbers

(a) (39816), 9598/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 384; (b) (39815), 9616/18 + ADD 1, SWD(18) 290

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

8.1The proposed Justice programme (see document (a)) will continue to support the development of an integrated EU justice area and cross-border judicial cooperation envisaged by the current programme which runs from 2014–2020. The UK does not participate in the current Justice programme.72

8.2The new programme will run from January 2021 to December 2027. It will cover matters such as:

8.3The programme’s objectives are to be achieved through the award of grants to eligible bodies within participating Member States for activities provided for by the terms of the proposed Regulation. The specific types of activities funded by the programme are aimed at improving the knowledge of EU law and policies,73 particularly of practitioners and the judiciary.

8.4In addition to the programme being based on mutual recognition and trust, there is particular emphasis in this new proposal to Member States’ respect for the Rule of Law. Recital 24 of the proposed Regulation states “Rules adopted on the basis of Article 322 TFEU also concern the protection of the Union’s budget in the case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in Member States, as respect for the rule of law is an essential precondition for sound financial management and effective EU funding”. This reflects the newly proposed Regulation on the protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States: (39685), 8356/18 and wider concern about the state of the rule of law in some Member States, principally Poland.

8.5The original intention of the Commission was to merge the 2014–20 Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, the Europe for Citizens programme, the Creative Europe programme and the Rights programme. This was to simplify and streamline funding, develop links between the different programmes and enhance EU impact and added value by consolidating available funding. The Commission analysed the potential impact of such a proposal in a Staff Working, document (b). However, as a result of this impact assessment, the Commission decided to have a self-standing Creative Europe Fund and to create a Justice, Rights and Values Fund with two underlying programmes: the Justice programme and the Rights and Value programme. We report on the Creative Europe Fund in another chapter of this Report of 27 June.74

8.6The combined Justice and Rights and Values fund will have a budget for the period of the programmes of €947 million (£830.3 million).75 The Justice programme itself will have a financial allocation for the period of that programme of €305 million (£267.4 million).

8.7The proposed Regulation would need to be adopted before the beginning of January 2021, but adoption is likely to be earlier than that as part of the wider Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). It is possible then that if the UK opt-in to the proposal, it could apply to the UK before the end of the transition/implementation period. However, the proposal is currently drafted on the basis of the UK’s non-participation in the light of UK exit from the EU.

8.8In terms of Brexit implications, Article 5 is the most significant provision in the proposed Regulation. It sets out the basis of third country association with the programme:

8.9In an Explanatory Memorandum of 15 June 2018, the Secretary of State for Justice (Mr David Gauke) says (in brief) that:

8.10Given that the UK does not participate in the current Justice programme, we are interested to hear that the Government has not ruled out future participation as a third country after the transition/implementation period, depending on the nature of EU-UK future judicial cooperation. We note in this regard the recent publication of the EU Article 50 taskforce slides on future EU-UK police and criminal justice cooperation and the Government’s slides on a “Framework for the UK-EU partnership: Civil judicial cooperation”. The Minister says that it is not yet clear what the financial arrangements would be for the UK to participate in the programme as a third country. We would be grateful if he could let us know the position once it is clearer.

8.11We note that the Government has until 11 September to notify its opt-in decision. If possible, it would be helpful for the Committee to have some indication of the Government’s likely decision and reasoning for that before 13 July. This will enable us to reconsider the matter before the Summer recess and possibly to clear the proposal from scrutiny, if appropriate. If this is not possible, then we request that the Minister write to us in time for our first meeting in September with this information.

8.12In the meantime, we retain document (a) under scrutiny but clear document (b) as it is non-legislative in nature and simply provides background to the genesis of document (a). We draw doucument (a) to the attention of the Justice Committee.

Full details of the documents

(a) Proposed for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Justice Programme: (39816), 9598/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 384; (b) Commission Staff Working Document Impact Assessment Accompanying the Proposed Regulations establishing the Rights and Values Programme, the Justice Programme and the Creative Europe Programme: (39815), 9616/18 + ADD 1, SWD(18) 290.

Previous Committee Reports

None; but see the Third Report HC 86–iii (2012–13), chapter 17 (23 May 2012); Fifty-fourth Report HC 428–xlix (2010–12), chapter 12 (1 February 2012).


72 This current programme cleared scrutiny in the previous Committee on 23 May 2012. See Third Report HC 86–iii (2012–13), chapter 17 (23 May 2012).

73 In addition to judicial training, other activities envisaged include: Mutual learning, cooperation activities, exchange of good practices, peer reviews, development of ICT tools; Awareness-raising activities, dissemination, conferences; Support for main actors (key European NGOs and networks, Member States’ authorities implementing Union law); Analytical activities (studies, data collection, development of common methodologies, indicators, surveys, preparation of guides).

74 See chapter xx of this Report: (39821), 9170/18, COM(18) 366.

75 Current exchange rate—€1: £0.87680.




Published: 3 July 2018