On 24 April 2013 the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on promoting the free movement citizens and businesses by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012.
The Commission wishes to do away with bureaucratic rubber-stamping exercises currently required to get public documents recognised as authentic in another EU Member State. The Regulation’s scope extends to the following public documents:
• civil status records (e.g. documents relating to birth, death, marriage and registered partnership);
• documents relating to residence, citizenship and nationality
• documents relating to real estate;
• documents relating to legal status and representation of a company or other undertaking;
• documents relating to intellectual property rights
• documents proving the absence of a criminal record.
The new rules will simplify formalities by
• Abolishing the formalities of ‘legalisation’ and ‘Apostille’
• Doing away with the need to present a certified copy together with the original public document and, instead, allow for non-certified copies to be accepted together with the originals;
• Ensuring that non-certified translations of public documents issued by the authorities of other Member States are accepted;
• Providing optional multilingual EU standard forms
• Improving administrative cooperation between the Member States to help fight against fraud.
The new rules will not, however, have any impact on the recognition of the content or the effects of the documents concerned. The new rules will only help prove the authenticity of the public document, for example whether a signature is authentic and the capacity in which the public office holder is signing. This will have to be mutually accepted between Member States without any additional certification requirements.
The proposal for a Regulation is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/civil/files/com_2013_228_en.pdf
The European Commission’s press release is available at the following address: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-355_en.htm