Press Release

Secondary title

Litigation on nationality requirement: European notariats leave Member States to own devices


The Council of the Notariats of the European Union notes the European Commission’s decision to take action against the eight other Member States regarding the nationality requirement, necessary as a condition for access to the profession of civil law notary. Civil law notaries from the countries concerned are delegates of public power, which is why regulation of the profession is a question not for the European Commission but for the Member States’ sovereignty.

Other paragraphs of the press releaseThe CNUE also recalls that the European Commission’s decision of 17 October is merely the consequence of the procedure begun against these Member States by means of formal notice, to which they responded by rejecting the Commission’s claims. They will therefore have to take a position once again.

At this stage in proceedings, the Member States concerned have stated their opinion that questioning sovereignty would also call into question national and EU legal instruments currently in force.

In its Resolution of 23 March 2006, the European Parliament underlined that “whereas civil-law notaries are appointed by Member States as public officials whose tasks include drawing up official documents with special value as evidence and immediate enforceability, Article 45 of the Treaty must be fully applied to the profession of civil-law notary as such”.

The notariat is an integral part of 21 legal systems of the EU Member States. In this context, it contributes actively to making daily life easier for citizens and businesses and developing an area of justice, freedom and security in the European Union. This is the case, for example, in matters of succession law, matrimonial property regimes, contract law, company law, etc.

The President of the CNUE, Klaus Woschnak, affirms that “these regulations in relation to access to the profession of civil law notary do not contradict the provisions of the EC Treaty, in virtue of Article 45 EC which excludes such activities from the principles of free movement”.

The CNUE in brief:

The Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE) is an official body representing the notarial profession in dealings with European institutions. Speaking for the profession, it expresses the joint decisions of its members to the institutions of the European Union.

The CNUE includes 21 notarial organisations in the European Union. The European notariats are represented in the CNUE by the presidents of the national notariats. The CNUE operates under the authority of a President, the CNUE’s spokesperson, who has tenure for one year.

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