On 20 March 2014, the Notaries of Europe announced the official launch of the Vulnerable Adults in Europe website (www.vulnerable-adults-europe.eu). In line with the Successions Europe and Couples Europe websites, this new website provides citizens with factsheets in three languages (English, French and German) on protective measures for vulnerable adults in the 22 Member States that have the notarial system.
On this occasion, the Notaries of Europe organised a reception in their offices and invited several experts to speak on the subject. These included:
- Mr André Michielsens, President of the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE).
- Mr Olivier Tell, Head of Unit, Procedural Criminal Law – European Commission.
- Mr Pedro Carrión García de Parada, Spanish notary and Chair of the CNUE’s Family Law working group
- Mr Raul Radoi, Coordinator of the European Notarial Network
- Ms Carmen Arroyo de Sande, Disability Thematic Network Coordinator – European Foundation Centre
- Ms Patrizia De Luca, Team Leader for External Relations and International Cooperation, Civil Justice Policy – European Commission
- Ms Alexandra Thein, German MEP.
- Mr Fernando Rui Paulino Pereira, Head of Unit, Civil Judicial Cooperation at the Council of the EU.
The speakers welcomed the initiative of the Notaries of Europe. Mr Pedro Carrión García de Parada gave more detail on the technical content of the project and the results obtained, giving an overview of the protective measures that could be taken by the countries covered by the project (preventive powers of attorney, advance directives or nomination of a guardian).
The Hague Convention of 13 January 2000 was also at the centre of discussions. Ms Alexandra Thein for the European Parliament and Ms Patrizia de Luca for the European Commission were unanimous on the need to encourage the Member Sates to join the Convention. With respect to advance directives, Ms Thein said she was in favour of harmonising the conflict-of-law rules.
Mr Michielsens declared, “More than ever, building the EU involves defending the rule of law. Europe is not only the internal market; it is also the rule of law. It is the EU’s duty, and that of practitioners, including notaries, to ensure that citizens’ rights can be applied. When I say citizens, I am of course thinking of the weakest parties, such as the vulnerable. The notariat has its place in this debate, listening to the problems of European citizens and people in difficulty.
(…) I am also convinced that the European Union must also do something about this. With the Hague Convention of 13 January 2000, it has a potential cooperation framework between the Member States. This is why the Council of the Notariats of the European Union, that I preside, would like everything to be done to ensure that this convention is applied within the European Union”.