European Commission proposes Regulation on cross border protection for vulnerable adults


The European Commission is proposing new rules to ensure the protection of vulnerable adults in cross-border cases, and that their right to individual autonomy, including the freedom to make their own choices, is respected when they move within the EU. Specifically, the proposals cover adults who, by reason of an impairment are unable to protect their own interests, for example, a person with Alzheimer's disease. A proposed Regulation defines the rules that will apply within the EU, in particular to establish which court has jurisdiction, which law is applicable, under what conditions a foreign measure or foreign powers of representation should be given effect and how authorities can cooperate.

It also proposes tools, such as:

• Facilitating digital communication

• Introducing a European Certificate of Representation, which will make it easier for representatives to prove their powers in another Member State

• Establishing interconnected registers that will provide information on the existence of protection in another Member State

• Promoting closer cooperation among authorities.

A separate proposal for a Council Decision provides for a uniform legal framework for protecting adults involving non-EU countries and obliges all Member States to become or remain parties to the 2000 Protection of Adults Convention. The proposed Regulation must be discussed and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, coming into force 18 months after its adoption.

Member States would then have four years to make their communication channels electronic, and five years to create a register and interconnect it with registers of other Member States. For the proposed Council Decision, Member States that are not yet party to the HCCH 2000 Protection of Adults Convention would have two two years to comply with the Council Decision and join the Convention.

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