MEPs call on member states to implement EU victims' directive

Civil liberties committee MEPs urge EU countries to put legislation into practice.

By William Louch

13 Nov 2015

Around 30 million crimes are reported to the police in the EU each year.  With so much effort focussed on capturing and convicting the perpetrator, the victim can sometimes be forgotten.

As increasing numbers of people travel, live and work abroad, there are many more potential victims of crimes committed in a country other than their own.

This year will be vital in making victims’ rights a reality in all EU countries as the EU victims’ directive, adopted in 2012 must finally be implemented into member states’ national law by 16 November 2015.


The directive aims at establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and ensures that persons who have fallen victim of crime are recognised.

The issue of victims’ rights is something Laura Ferrara, an EFDD MEP and a member of Parliament’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE), believes must be “a priority within the EU.”

However, she thinks “much remains to be done to support victims of crime,” in terms of “informing them of their rights and ensuring effective referral systems and training for police officers and legal practitioners to establish a relationship of trust and confidence with victims.”

She called on member states to “properly implement, without delay, the EU victims’ directive.”

The need for the EU to do more was also raised by EPP group deputy Roberta Metsola, who said, “The EU and its member states needs to ensure that victims of crime across the continent are protected from further trauma and victimisation.”

She also highlighted the need for member states to put the rights guaranteed in the EU victims’ directive into practice, saying, “while many member states have passed new legislation in this regard, we are still too far away from translating these rights into action.”

Birgit Seppel, of Parliament’s S&D group and a member of the LIBE committee, said the adoption of the 2012 directive was “a matter of urgency” and supported the creation of “common rules for victims of crime,” and increasing judicial cooperation “based on a climate of mutual trust.”

She noted, however, that “there are still member states which seemingly have not fully implemented the directive,” calling the lack of action “deplorable, particularly for victims concerned.”

She concluded by calling for the Commission to “apply its full powers and take rapid action against those member states still lagging behind.”

Janice Atkinson, of Parliament’s far-right ENF grouping, adopted a different position, arguing that victim support is not an EU competency.

Atkinson told Parliament Magazine that, “as you would expect I do not support any intervention from the EU. The UK has its own support systems, and while they could be improved, EU intervention is not the answer.”

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