The European Protection Order gets Parliament support

MEPs approved that crime victims will get similar protection from their aggressors in all EU Member States thanks to the European Protection Order. This new rule aims to protect victims of, for instance, gender violence, harassment, abduction, stalking or attempted murder in all Europe. Now, Member States will have three years to transpose this directive into national law.

The European Parliament approved the European Protection Order (EPO) directive that will enable anyone protected under criminal law in one EU state to apply for similar protection if they move to another. The measure is already agreed with national governments and the Civil Liberties and the Women's Rights Committees endorsed the new European Protection Order (EPO) rules in the beginning of December. MEPs insisted in making clear that the rules should cover all victims of crime, not just victims of gender violence.

The new rules grant protection in one Member State under domestic criminal law, s/he may request an EPO to extend this protection to another EU country to which s/he decides to move (or already moved). It will be up to the Member State of origin to issue the EPO and forward it to the other country. An EPO may only be issued if the aggressor is banned by the initial country from places where the protected person resides or which s/he visits, or if restrictions are imposed on contact or approaches by the aggressor to the protected person. The rules are also aimed at protecting the relatives of a beneficiary of a European Protection Order.

In addition, the EPO in criminal matters will be complemented by separate legislation for civil matters. The Commission proposed such legislation in May 2011 a regulation on mutual recognition of protection afforded by civil law, which will also be co-decided by Parliament and Council. The combination of the two instruments (the EPO directive and this regulation) should cover the broadest possible range of protection measures for victims issued in the Member States.