European Semester 2017: Commission issues country-specific recommendations

May 23rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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On 22 May 2017, the Commission presented the 2017 country-specific recommendations (CSRs). “Priorities vary across the EU but further efforts across the board are essential to achieve more inclusive, robust and sustainable growth.”, according to the Commission.

The country recommendations include information on education and training but on a more general level. Some country recommendations specifically concern the lawyer’s profession and its rules, including the rules on shareholding and company forms, multidisciplinary partnerhsips and reserved activities.

For more information see the press release and memo of the European Commission.

European Commission Annual Report on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

May 23rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The report – published on 18 May 2017 – outlines the initiatives taken in 2016 by the EU to strengthen fundamental rights in the EU. It also looks at how these rights were applied across a range of EU policies and in the Member States in 2016.

The accompanying Staff Working document states on ‘Article 14 — Right to education’ amongst others:

– Education policies are instrumental in addressing inequalities, fostering inclusion and tolerance, and promoting the common values of democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law.

– In June [2016], the Commission adopted a Communication on a “New Skills Agenda for Europe” which underlines the strategic importance of skills for sustaining jobs, growth and competitiveness. It covers areas such as skills development, mutual recognition of qualifications, support for vocational education and training and higher education, and ways of exploring the full potential of the digital economy, in order to promote lifelong investment in people. It inter alia also proposes a ‘skills guarantee’ to further combat exclusion and inequality.

– The preliminary outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights published in March 2016 proposes a principle regarding skills, education and lifelong learning focused on the access to quality education and training throughout the life course and on the encouragement of skills upgrading.

For more information:

Press release

2016 Report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Staff working document accompanying the Report

Interim Evaluation of the Justice Programme (2014-2020)

April 24th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The European Commission announced at the European Parliament workshop on 12 April 2017 that it will launch a public consultation in May to prepare a New Training Strategy. The aim is to find out more about particular needs of particular legal professionals. The Commission will also organise a conference in November which will bring together relevant stakeholders to consider ideas and strategies of all legal practitioners to feed into the New Training Strategy.

As part of this initiative, the European Commission has now published a roadmap which sets out in brief the way forward.

The roadmap indicates that the interim evaluation will cover the implementation period from 1 January 2014 until 30 June 2017, i.e. annual work programmes 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The main issues that will be taken into account by the evaluation are: a. effectiveness, b. efficiency, c. relevance, d. coherence/complementarity, e. EU added value, f. equity and g. scope for simplification.

The consultation strategy shall consist of the following:

• An online 12-week public consultation to be published on the “Your Voice In Europe” website. The questionnaire will be drafted in 24 EU official languages, also with a possibility to provide written input in any of the 24 EU official languages. A summary of the open consultation outcome will be published in English.

• Targeted consultation through an online survey: all applicants and beneficiaries, if necessary complemented with a targeted consultation through phone interviews for a sample of randomly selected applicants and beneficiaries representing different target groups.

• Targeted consultation through a questionnaire sent by email: Programme Committee members.

Planned start: Q 1 2017; Planned completion: Q 2 2018.

The roadmap can be downloaded here.

European Parliament: Workshop on ‘The Training of Judges and Legal Practitioners’

March 21st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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The chair of the CCBE Training Committee, Pier Giovanni Traversa, will speak on this occasion on the training of lawyers.

The draft programme of the workshop is available here.

Obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the Internal Market

March 17th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

On 15 March 2017, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on ‘Obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the Internal Market’ (which can be downloaded here). Concerning professional qualifications and continuous professional development, it states that the Parliament:

17.  Is concerned about the difficulties encountered by petitioners in getting their professional qualifications recognised across Europe; calls for further standardisation of academic titles and continuous education diplomas by Member States, systemic use of the Internal Market Information System (IMI) to ensure better administrative cooperation and simpler and faster procedures for the recognition of professional qualifications and of continuous professional development requirements needed by qualified professionals planning to work in another Member State, avoiding any kind of discrimination, in line with the settled case-law of the Court of Justice, while respecting the requirements of the host country in full compliance with Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications;

2017 Justice Work Programme

March 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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The European Commission has now published the 2017 Justice Work Programme (click here).

As mentioned on the Commission website and relevant documents:

The Commission will continue to support activities and actions developed by public authorities, universities, NGOs, and other organisations in the field of: Judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters; Judicial training; Access to justice, including rights of victims of crime, and rights of the defence; Drugs initiatives.

As in the previous years, significant resources will be devoted to the training of judges, prosecutors and other legal practitioners on civil and criminal law instruments. Training is key for the correct application of the already adopted instruments and building bridges between different justice systems. [See page 17 and following.]

2017 calls for proposals for operating and action grants are expected to be published by the end of March 2017 on the Participant Portal.

Concerns about getting professional qualifications recognised across Europe

March 9th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The European Parliament Committee on Petitions will put a ‘Motion for a resolution on obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the internal market‘ to the next Plenary Session which will take place on 13-16 March 2017.

Amongst others, the Motion states that the Parliament:

17.  Is concerned about the difficulties encountered by petitioners in getting their professional qualifications recognised across Europe; calls for further standardisation of academic titles and continuous education diplomas by Member States, systemic use of the Internal Market Information System (IMI) to ensure better administrative cooperation and simpler and faster procedures for the recognition of professional qualifications and of continuous professional development requirements needed by qualified professionals planning to work in another Member State, avoiding any kind of discrimination, in line with the settled case-law of the Court of Justice, while respecting the requirements of the host country in full compliance with Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications;

An agenda for the modernisation of higher education

March 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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The European Commission published on 28 February 2017 a Roadmap entitled ‘An agenda for the modernisation of higher eduation‘. The document can be downloaded here.

The Roadmap aims to inform stakeholders about the Commission’s work in order to allow them to provide feedback and to participate effectively in future consultation activities.

The Roadmap states that “Europe’s higher education systems are not contributing as well as they should to the EU’s economic development and social cohesion.” Amongst the three challenges to be tackled in the future figures: Higher education in Europe is not equipping enough people with the right skills for modern society. Too few graduates are leaving higher education with skills in fields where there is high demand (like computing, where there are significant skills shortages) and too many are leaving with poor basic skills and limited soft skills relevant for work and life in a modern democratic society (critical thinking, problem-solving, communication etc.)”

The Commission is planning to publish a Communication in the second quarter 2017 which will outline how the Commission believes the three main problems.

Cross Border Continuing Professional Development

March 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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On the ocassion of last week’s meetings in Vienna, 40 Bars and Law Societies signed the CCBE Memorandum on Mutual Recognition of Lawyers’ Cross Border Continuing Professional Development. Please click here to access the Memorandum in English and French and the list of signatory Bars and Law Societies.

The aim of the Memorandum is to promote and facilitate the free movement of lawyers within CCBE member countries where Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is mandatory or recommended. The MOU does not suggest any change to existing CPD standards of quality. By signing the Memorandum, the signatory Bars and Law Societies have agreed that: The number of CPD course hours attended or CPD credits of the training courses obtained by lawyers enrolled in a Bar or Law Society of a member country, should be considered in their signatory jurisdiction of origin to help fulfil their requirements of CPD obligations, in accordance with national, regional or local rules or regulations and without prejudice to each national, regional or local evaluation system.”

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Signatory Bars and Law Societies

Erasmus+ Annual Report for 2015

January 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

In 2015, Erasmus+ enabled 678,000 Europeans to study, train, work and volunteer abroad, more than ever before. In the same year, the EU invested €2.1 billion in over 19,600 projects involving 69,000 organisations. These are the main findings of the Erasmus+ Annual Report for 2015 published by the European Commission yesterday…..(see Commission press release, 26 January 2017).