Towards simplification of public documents in the EU

posted in: EU news

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On 9 June 2016 in plenary session, the European Parliament adopted the proposal for a regulation on promoting the free movement of citizens and businesses by simplifying the conditions for presenting certain public documents issued by another Member State. The text sets out EU-wide rules exempting public documents falling under its scope from legislation or similar formalities (such as the ‘apostille’), simplifying other formalities relating to cross-border acceptance of public documents, including the rules on certified copies and certified translations, and introducing effective and secure administrative cooperation based on the Internal Market Information System (IMI), in order to guarantee the authenticity of public documents which circulate from one Member State to another.

The final text is the result of a compromise reached in December 2015 during trilogue negotiations between Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The amendments to include education certificates, certificates of disability and certain business-related public documents within the regulation’s scope, and introduce self-standing standard multilingual forms, were not maintained.

However, as Parliament wanted, the draft regulation covers civil status documents in an extended number of areas, as well as public documents certifying the absence of a criminal record or required when voting/standing in elections to the European Parliament or in municipal elections. At the Commission’s request, a revision clause has been included in order to be able to extend the scope to other documents in the future.

The vote ends the legislative procedure. The text will become applicable in two and a half years, the time it takes to implement the various multilingual forms and make the computerised system of administrative cooperation operational. The final text is available here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2016-0277+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN