The Council reached a partial general approach to establish minimum rules for the most serious market abuse offences

EU Justice Ministers reached a partial general approach on a directive on criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulation, the so called "market abuse directive". The directive would create an obligation for Member States to ensure that these conducts are punishable as criminal offences. They also agreed that that awareness of the rights of victims needs to be raised.

The Council adopted a partial general approach for establishing minimum rules for criminal sanctions for the most serious market abuse offences, namely insider dealing and market manipulation. Many elements in the draft directive depend directly or indirectly from the content of other instruments. The Council therefore will await the result of the discussions on such remaining parts before enter into negotiations with the European Parliament. Also, in February 2012, the EDPS issued an opinion which states that the review of EU financial markets legislation has a significant impact on data protection.

At the previous debate held by Ministers, some delegations expressed the necessity that the directive should also approximate the types and level of penalties. Others, however, were opposed to this view. The proposed compromise establishes that by four years after the entry into force of the directive, the European Commission shall report on the application of the directive and, if necessary, on the need to review it, including with regard to the appropriateness of introducing common minimum rules on types and levels of criminal sanctions.

In addition to this compromise, the EU Justice Ministers also held a debate on a proposed regulation on mutual recognition of protection measures taken in civil matters upon request of the person at risk. In particular, Ministers endorsed guidelines on certain key issues of the proposal to provide guidance for the future work. This proposal is part of a legislative package which aims at strengthening the protection of victims in the EU. Denmark has decided not to take part in this instrument.