Tag Archives: Access to justice

Application of the Aarhus Convention to the EU institutions

Application of the Aarhus Convention to the EU institutions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Application of the Aarhus Convention to the EU institutions

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > General provisions

Application of the Aarhus Convention to the EU institutions

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies.

Summary

The European Union applies the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters to its own institutions and bodies.

Access to environmental information

The institutions and bodies of the Union process all requests for access to environmental information held by them in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

Besides providing access to environmental information on request, the institutions and bodies of the Union also collect and disseminate such information.

They organise environmental information in their field of competency and make it systematically accessible to the public, particularly in databases disseminated by computer telecommunications or by other electronic means.

These databases or registers should include:

  • texts of international treaties, conventions or agreements, and of European legislation relating to the environment, and of policies, plans and programmes relating to the environment;
  • steps taken in proceedings for infringements of Community law from the stage of the reasoned opinion;
  • reports on the state of the environment;
  • data derived from the monitoring of activities affecting, or likely to affect, the environment;
  • authorisations with a significant impact on the environment;
  • environmental impact studies and risk assessments concerning environmental elements.

Environmental information made available for public consultation must be up-to-date, accurate and comparable. On request, Union institutions and bodies must inform the public how to access existing information and of methods of analysis, sampling and pre-treatment of samples used in compiling the information.

Where a Union institution or body receives a request for access to environmental information which it does not hold, it must inform the applicant, as promptly as possible, of the institution, body or public authority which holds the information requested. The institution receiving the request may also transfer it directly to the competent authority.

In the event of an imminent threat to human health or the environment, Union institutions and bodies must collaborate with the public authorities and assist them in disseminating without delay to the public all information held by them which could prevent or mitigate harm arising from the threat.

A report on the state of the European environment should be published at least every four years. It should include information on the quality of, and pressures on, the environment.

Public participation in the preparation of environmental plans and programmes

Union institutions and bodies shall provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the preparation of environmental plans and programmes. Due account is taken of the results of public participation in the final decisions.

Access to justice in environmental matters

Qualified entities (associations, groups and organisations concerned with environmental protection and recognised by a Member State) entitled to exercise the right to take legal action if they consider that an administrative act or an omission by a Union institution or body is in breach of environmental law, are entitled to make a request for internal review to the institution or body in question. The request must be submitted in writing no more than six weeks from the adoption of the act. The institution or body must publish a written decision and the reasons for it, no later than twelve weeks later. The decision should describe the measures to be taken in order to conform with environmental law, or indicate that the request has been rejected.

If the qualified entity which made the request considers that the decision of the Union institution or body does not guarantee conformity with environmental law, it may institute proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union. The entity may also take such action if the institution fails to communicate its decision within the specified period.

Qualified entitles are entitled to take legal action without having to demonstrate the impairment of a right or a sufficient interest when they have been recognised and when the subject matter is covered by their statutory activities.

Background

The European Community signed the Aarhus Convention on 25 June 1998 and ratified it on 17 February 2005. All Member States except Ireland are also Parties to the Convention.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006

28.9.2006

OJ L 264 of 25.9.2006

Access to justice in environmental matters

Access to justice in environmental matters

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Access to justice in environmental matters

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > General provisions

Access to justice in environmental matters

Proposal

Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 24 October 2003 on access to justice in environmental matters (presented by the Commission).

Summary

This proposal establishes a set of minimum requirements on access to administrative and judicial procedures in environmental matters. It thus transposes the third pillar of the Århus Convention into Community law and the law of the Member States.

Acts and omissions by private persons

The Member States guarantee that members of the public (natural or legal persons and their associations, organisations or groups) may initiate administrative or judicial procedures against acts or omissions of private persons that do not respect environmental law.

Acts and omissions by public authorities

Member States will ensure that members of the public have access to administrative or judicial proceedings against administrative acts or omissions which infringe environmental law if they have a sufficient interest or if they show that their rights have been affected.

Member States guarantee that qualified entities (associations, groups or organisations recognised by a Member State whose objective is protecting the environment) may initiate administrative or judicial proceedings against violations of environmental law, without showing a sufficient interest or impairment of a right if the subject of the procedure is within the scope of their statutory and geographically relevant activities. Qualified entities recognised in a Member State may have recourse to such proceedings in another Member State.

Members of the public and qualified entities who have access to justice against an act or an omission must be able to submit a request for internal review. This request is a preliminary procedure under which the person or entity concerned can contact the public authority designated by the Member State before initiating legal or administrative proceedings. It must be submitted within four weeks of the date of the administrative act or omission. The public authority then has 12 weeks to take a written and reasoned decision and notify it to the party that submitted the request. In the decision, the authority should describe the measures necessary to comply with environmental law or, where appropriate, reject the request. If the authority cannot take a decision, it should inform the party submitting the request as soon as possible. If the authority fails to respond to the request within the period fixed for this purpose or if its decision does not enable compliance with environmental law, the party submitting the request may initiate an administrative or judicial procedure.

Recognition of qualified entities

The Member States should lay down a procedure for recognising qualified entities. They may choose between a preliminary procedure and a case-by-case (ad hoc) procedure. A qualified entity must always meet the following criteria:

  • operate on a non-profit basis and pursue the objective of protecting the environment;
  • have an organisational structure enabling it to achieve its objectives;
  • be legally constituted and have experience in environmental protection;
  • have its annual accounts certified by a registered auditor.

Administrative and judicial procedures

The administrative and judicial procedures provided for in this proposal must be objective, effective, adequate, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive.

Context: the Århus Convention

The Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (Århus Convention) was signed by the European Community and its Member States in June 1998. Apart from the present proposal, two others presented in October 2003 were intended to give final approval to the Convention and apply its provisions to the Community’s institutions and bodies.

The Århus Convention consists of three pillars. The first pillar, concerning the public’s access to information, was implemented by the Community in Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information. The second one, transposed by Directive 2003/35/EC, concerns public participation in environmental procedures. The third pillar relates to public access to justice in environmental matters. The present proposal for a directive is intended to implement this third pillar of the Convention.

The Århus Convention is based on the idea that improving public access to information and justice and greater public participation in decision making in environmental matters lead to better application of environmental law.

References And Procedure

Proposal Official Journal Procedure
COM(2003) 624 final Codecision COD/2003/246

Green Paper on criminal proceedings

Green Paper on criminal proceedings

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green Paper on criminal proceedings

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Human rights > Fundamental rights within the European Union

Green Paper on criminal proceedings

To facilitate the application of the principle of mutual recognition, the European Commission is presenting this Green Paper on common minimum standards for procedural safeguards for persons suspected or accused of, and prosecuted or sentenced for, criminal offences. There are five fundamental rights: the right to legal assistance and representation; the right to an interpreter or translator; the right of vulnerable groups to proper protection; the right of nationals of other Member States and of third countries to consular assistance; and the right to a “Letter of Rights”.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Green Paper Procedural safeguards for suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union.

Summary

With a view to facilitating application of the principle of mutual recognition, this Commission Green Paper examines whether it is appropriate and necessary to introduce in the Member States of the EU common minimum standards for procedural safeguards for persons suspected or accused of, and prosecuted or sentenced for, criminal offences. It defines these minimum standards and the areas in which they will be applicable.

The Green Paper, which is divided into nine chapters, contains 35 specific questions submitted for consultation to all the sectors concerned (government departments, professional bodies and institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), legal practitioners and private individuals).

The first three chapters, which make up a third of the Green Paper, explain why the Commission is taking action at the European level to safeguard the rights of persons suspected or accused of, and prosecuted or sentenced for, criminal offences, with particular attention being paid to suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings in Member States of which they are not nationals. These three chapters are devoted to (a) the reasons for action by the Union in this area; (b) identifying fundamental rights (called “basic rights” in this document); and (c) obligations under international conventions and existing provisions.

Fundamental rights stemming from the right to a fair trial

The Commission draws up a list of basic provisions compliance with which calls for EU action: Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which lays down the “right to a fair trial”; Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which refers to the “right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial”; and various other international treaty provisions.

Regarding the identification of fundamental rights, which dovetail with the concept of “right to a fair trial”, the Commission comes to the conclusion that, although they are all important, priority should be given at this stage to those rights which are considered essential, namely:

  • the right to legal advice and assistance (representation) provided by a lawyer;
  • the right to an interpreter and to translation of essential documents;
  • the right for persons accused of an offence to obtain written information about their fundamental rights in a language they understand, which may take the form of a “Letter of Rights”;
  • the right of vulnerable persons to proper protection;
  • the right to consular assistance.

Each of these rights is the subject of a chapter in the Green Paper.

Right to legal assistance and representation

The Commission is considering the possibility of going beyond the right to assistance by a lawyer by requiring Member States to establish a national scheme of legal representation by a lawyer. More than that, it is even considering the possibility of requiring Member States to verify the level of competence of lawyers assigned by courts and to guarantee them an adequate remuneration.

Right to an interpreter and/or translator

The Green Paper envisages the possibility of creating a formal mechanism whereby those responsible for the judicial investigation must ascertain whether the suspect/defendant understands the language of the proceedings sufficiently to defend himself. A further possibility put up for consideration is the setting up of national registers of legal translators and interpreters and of national schemes for training such professionals, coupled with an obligation on Member States to verify that they are adequately remunerated.

Protection of vulnerable groups

The Commission analyses a list of groups of potentially vulnerable suspects to whom Member States should provide a proper degree of protection which matches their level of vulnerability. The groups singled out by the Commission for special mention include foreign nationals, children, the physically or mentally ill, those with dependants, persons who cannot read or write, refugees, alcoholics and drug addicts.

The Green Paper also raises the possibility of requiring police officers, lawyers and prison officers to make an assessment of a suspect/defendant’s potential vulnerability at certain stages in criminal proceedings, and proposes steps that might be taken to follow up the assessment.

Consular assistance

The provisions governing this matter are those set out in Article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. With a view to improving on them, the Commission suggests that Member States might be required to ensure that there is an official with responsibility for looking after the rights of suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings in the host State, including acting as a liaison person with their families and lawyers.

Letter of rights

After setting out the rights that a defendant must be granted, the Green Paper refers to the need to draw up a “Letter of Rights”, common to all Member States, putting down in writing the basic rights of any suspect or defendant, who would be given it at the latest at the time of his or her arrest.

Compliance with and monitoring of the common standards

Lastly, the Green Paper points to the need to set up a system making it possible to evaluate the level of compliance by all Member States with these minimum standards, to create tools for evaluation, and to provide for sanctions in the event of failure by a Member State to comply with the standards.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Commission Green Paper COM(2003) 75 final

Related Acts

Proposal for a Council framework decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union [COM(2004) 328 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Following publication of the Green Paper, the Commission received 78 written replies supporting the idea of setting common minimum standards for procedural safeguards. A hearing was held in June 2003. On 28 April 2004, the Commission presented a proposal for a framework decision. This proposal is concerned with access by suspects and defendants to legal advice; access by foreign defendants to the services of an interpreter or translator; the protection of persons incapable of understanding or following the proceedings; the right of detainees to communicate, inter alia with consular authorities in the case of foreign suspects; the “Letter of Rights”; and evaluation and monitoring.
Consultation procedure (CNS 2004/0113)

Proposal for a Council framework decision on the European Evidence Warrant for obtaining objects, documents and data for use in proceedings in criminal matters [COM(2003) 688 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Consultation procedure(CNS 2003/0270)

The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in criminal matters

The Hague Programme: 10 priorities for the next five years

How can we strengthen the area of freedom, security and justice within the European Union? The Commission’s answer to this question consists of 10 priorities for the next five years.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 10 May 2005 – The Hague Programme: ten priorities for the next five years. The Partnership for European renewal in the field of Freedom, Security and Justice [COM(2005) 184 final – Official Journal C 236 of 24.9.2005].

Summary

The multiannual Hague Programme, adopted at the European Council of 4 and 5 November 2004, sets out 10 priorities for the Union with a view to strengthening the area of freedom, security and justice in the next five years. An annex to the communication sets out specific measures and a timetable for their adoption (see also Action Plan).

The Commission feels that efforts should be concentrated on the following 10 priorities:

Strengthening fundamental rights and citizenship. The Union plans to monitor and promote the observance of fundamental rights in European policies. Among other things, it converted the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia into the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in January 2007. The Commission will devote special attention to children’s rights and to continuing its efforts to combat violence against women. It also intends to work against all kinds of discrimination and to ensure the protection of personal data. The way in which the rights conferred by European citizenship – such as free movement within the Union and voting rights in European Parliament and local elections – are exercised must also be improved. The measures adopted by the Commission include inter alia the “Fundamental Rights and Justice” framework programme and assessment reports on how successfully directives regarding the right to move and reside freely are applied.

Anti-terrorist measures. A comprehensive response to terrorism is the only way to combat it effectively. The approach must be integrated and coherent. The Commission emphasises the need for terrorism prevention and exchanging information. Its intention is to support Member States in their fight against terrorism by focusing on terrorism recruitment and financing, prevention, risk analysis, protection of vulnerable infrastructure and consequence management. Terrorism and its causes can only be combated effectively through cooperation with third countries. The measures adopted by the Commission to achieve its objectives include: proposals aimed at strengthening cooperation between the law-enforcement services of Member States, particularly by improved exchanges of information, a European framework for the protection of related data, a communication on the protection of critical infrastructure, a communication on the prevention of and the fight against terrorism financing, a proposal on preventing the misuse of charitable organisations for the financing of terrorism and monitoring the pilot project in place for the victims of terrorism.

Defining a balanced approach to migration. The Commission intends to come up with a new, balanced approach to dealing with legal and illegal immigration. This involves fighting illegal immigration and the trafficking of human beings, especially women and children. The Hague Programme provides for the adoption of a communication and a plan for legal immigration.

The proper management of migration flows also involves greater cooperation with third countries in all fields, including the readmission and return of migrants. The measures introduced by the Commission to achieve this include the “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows” framework programme, which covers the creation of an External Borders Fund, an Integration Fund, a Return Fund and a European Refugee Fund.

Developing integrated management of the Union’s external borders. Within the Union, the free movement of persons is made possible by the removal of internal border controls. This requires greater efforts to strengthen the integrated management of external borders. The FRONTEX-Agency has been set up to manage external borders and may be given additional tasks in the future. Equally important is the creation of an effective visa policy through development of, for example, a visa information system and, in the future, a common European consular service. One of the short-term priorities is to make identity and travel documents more secure by equipping them with biometric identifiers.

Setting up a common asylum procedure
. The Commission aims to set up a harmonised and effective asylum procedure. In the short-term, it will be submitting a proposal for a directive concerning long-term resident status for refugees and in the medium-term, once the way in which existing legislation is being applied has been assessed, it will propose a common procedure and status for refugees. Operational cooperation in the field of asylum will be continued and maintained, notably by way of the European Refugee Fund.

Maximising the positive impact of immigration. Immigrant communities must be integrated if they are not to become isolated and excluded from society. The Commission encourages Member States to push ahead with their integration policies in order to help improve mutual understanding and dialogue between religions and cultures. It also intends to set up a European framework for integration and to promote a structural exchange of experience and information on integration.

Striking the right balance between privacy and security while sharing information. Law-enforcement authorities must be able to share information if they are to fight terrorism and investigate cross-border crime effectively. The Union must support constructive dialogue between all interested parties in order to find solutions accommodating both the availability of information and the observance of fundamental rights, such as the protection of privacy and the protection of data. The European Police Office (Europol) has a central role in this context.

Developing a strategic concept on tackling organised crime. Cooperation between Member States’ law-enforcement authorities, such as the police or customs, must be improved in the fight against organised crime. Working towards a European model for criminal intelligence is a priority. Therefore, the Commission adopted a communication on developing a strategic concept on tackling organised crime in 2005.

A genuine European area of justice. Access to justice must be guaranteed in order for judgments to be made and enforced. The Union must take steps to instil mutual confidence between Member States by laying down minimum procedural standards, which for example safeguard the right of defence.

As regards civil legal matters, the Commission is focusing on completing its mutual recognition programme for judgments in civil and commercial matters. To this end, it has initiated consultations regarding judgments on family property, succession and wills with a view to drawing up new legislative proposals.

As regards criminal legal matters, legislation must sometimes be approximated and minimum legal procedural standards must be set up if mutual confidence between Member States is to be strengthened. Eurojust is the key player as regards judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

The Commission also wishes to see greater protection of the Union’s financial interests. Operational measures to safeguard a genuine European area of justice include: Union support for judicial organisations and institution networks, justice quality assessment, a communication on legal training in the EU and seminars to promote cooperation between legal practitioners.

Sharing responsibility and solidarity. No political objective can be met without adequate funding. The Hague Programme was adopted at a time when the Commission was preparing its proposals for the financial perspective 2007-13; this made it possible to ensure that the objectives of the Hague Programme were in line with the financial means available for them over the same period. In April 2005, the Commission presented three framework programmes examining which type of political and financial instruments most effectively enable the objectives of freedom, security and justice to be met.

The Commission attaches great importance to the implementation of provisions and to how it can assess and evaluate such implementation by Member States. Political flexibility in matters concerning justice, freedom and security enables political priorities to be shuffled in response to unexpected events, such as the London attacks of 7 July 2005. The nature and scale of such events are often international. The Action Plan should therefore also be flexible and adaptable. The European Council wished to have a midterm-review , and the Commission provided annual “scoreboards” on the state of implementation of the Hague Programme.

Related Acts

Council and Commission Action Plan implementing the Hague Programme on strengthening freedom, security and justice in the European Union [Official Journal C 198 of 12.8.2005].
This Action Plan is intended to serve as a frame of reference for the work of the Council and the Commission for 2004-09. It contains a timetable for the adoption and implementation of the actions set out in the Plan that were designed to put into practice the priorities and objectives of the Hague Programme (strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU) adopted as a result of the above communication. These measures – legislative proposals, consultation documents (green papers) and reports – are designed to give a practical aspect to the Hague Programme in an effective way.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 June 2009 – Justice, freedom and security in Europe since 2005: an evaluation of the Hague Programme and Action Plan [COM(2009) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In this communication, the Commission presents the evaluations of the implementation of the Hague Programme at both the EU and Member State levels as well as the themes to guide future action within the next multiannual programme (the Stockholm Programme).
Initiatives in the field of justice, freedom and security are relatively recent compared to other actions taken at the EU-level. Nevertheless, progress has been achieved on a number of measures, such as on the protection of fundamental rights, asylum and immigration policies, border management and visa policy, anti-terrorism and the fight against crime, as well as police cooperation.
The realisation of a European area of justice has also progressed, especially through improved cross-border judicial cooperation in both civil and criminal matters. Significant progress has been made in particular on the legislative and operational aspects of the principle on mutual recognition, which is the cornerstone of judicial cooperation.
While the fight against drugs has also been effective, drug use in certain Member States has increased.
Less progress has been made on the rights of EU citizens, in particular due to the deficient transposition by Member States of Directive 2004/38/EC on the free movement of citizens within the Union.
In general though, most of the specific measures set out in the Hague Programme have been adopted, though the full impact of many of them will be realised only in the longer term. Nevertheless, due to the specific nature of the justice, freedom and security policy area, progress has been relatively uneven. For example, decision-making under the “third pillar” has been slow and at times limiting the desired outcomes. In addition, transposition by Member States of legislative instruments falling under the “third pillar” is often delayed and no recourse exists for formal infringement procedures. The Lisbon Treaty, once in effect, should speed up decision-making, while future action should focus on consolidating and enforcing the existing legal framework.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 July 2008 – Report on Implementation of the Hague Programme for 2007 [COM(2008) 373 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This third annual report (“scoreboard”) illustrates a relatively similar trend with regard to progress as the previous reports (below). However, the overall assessment is rather unsatisfactory, with the rate of achievement only 38% compared to 53% in 2006. A higher number of actions were also either delayed or abandoned altogether as compared to 2006.
As in previous years, insufficient progress was made in particular on the “third pillar” actions, namely on the prevention of and fight against organised crime, police and customs cooperation, and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Nevertheless, good progress was made in the fight against terrorism, which remains a political priority within Justice and Home Affairs. Significant developments were also made in the other priority areas that fall under the “first pillar”. These include migration and border policy, and judicial cooperation in civil matters. However, progress on visa policy was not perceived as sufficient.
Some Member States have made considerable progress with national transposition, in contrast to previous years. Yet, many continue to miss the transposition deadlines by one or more years. Furthermore, for some of the legal instruments, transposition by Member States has been incomplete or even incorrect. Consequently, decision-making should be improved within the area of Justice and Home Affairs.
As a result of the insufficient progress made on certain actions over the past few years, the Commission is aiming to present a communication on the future of justice, freedom and security policies in 2009. This communication should not only further developments in this policy area, but also serve as the starting point for the next multiannual (2010-14) programme.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 3 July 2007 – Report on the implementation of the Hague Programme for 2006 [COM(2007) 373 final –Official Journal C 191 of 17.8.2007].
The overall assessment of the Hague Programme was mixed: 53% of the actions were achieved but progress was not consistent in all policy areas.
Progress was made in “first pillar” areas such as fundamental rights, citizenship, civil justice, the European drugs strategy, asylum and migration, and visa and border policies. However, delays occurred in “third pillar” areas such as police and judicial cooperation, where unanimity was required.
The “scoreboard” shows that implementation at national level was not satisfactory. A number of Member States missed the deadlines for transposing the legal instruments into national law, in some cases by one or more years.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 June 2006 – Report on the implementation of the Hague Programme for 2005 [COM(2006) 333 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].
This communication examines the state of play on each measure scheduled in the Hague Programme for 2005, or on a regular/ongoing basis in the Hague Action Plan. In addition to this monitoring of the adoption process, and for the first time as part of such an exercise for justice, freedom and security policies, it looks into the monitoring of the national implementation of these policies. This initial assessment reveals that, despite progress achieved by the Union in “communitised” justice, freedom and security policies such as judicial cooperation in civil matters, unanimous voting delayed the adoption of priority policies under the Hague Programme, such as those concerning the first phase of the European asylum system. At a national level, both the adoption and implementation of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (the “third pillar”) remain especially problematic.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 June 2006 – Evaluation of EU Policies on Freedom, Security and Justice [COM(2006) 332 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 June 2006 – Implementing the Hague Programme: the way forward [COM(2006) 331 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].