In honour of its new member, the Croatian notariat, the CNUE organised a reception at its offices on Avenue de Cortenbergh on Thursday 26 September, the eve of its General Assembly. All the national representatives of the European notariat were invited, in addition to Mr Mato Škrabalo, Ambassador of the Croatian Republic to the European Union, Ms Paraskevi Michou, Director of ‘Civil Justice’ of the European Commission’s DG Justice and Mr Ivan Crnčec, a representative from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia.
During his introductory speech, Mr Frank Molitor recalled that the Croatian notariat’s membership came “during a very active phase for the European notariat”. Listing the various websites developed for citizens (Couples in Europe, Successions Europe, the European Directory of Notaries), Mr Molitor also mentioned the forthcoming website on vulnerable adults that will be ready by the end of 2013. In respect of the training programme currently underway, Mr Molitor said that emphasis was on the new regulation on international successions, which he considered “a tremendous success”, adding, “the European notariat has managed to get things moving. This text will change the working habits of our European colleagues. This is why we must familiarise them with this new legislation".
Speaking about the Croatian notariat joining the CNUE, Mr Molitor was reassuring: “I have no worries about our Croatian friends. I, personally, have noticed the Croatian notariat’s great optimism, their commitment to and their interest in European issues. They have taken part in our General Assemblies and the European Notarial Network’s activities for years.”
Mr Mato Škrabalo stressed that “a new page in the history of the Croatian notariat” was being turned. He then gave some encouragement: “Big challenges lie before you. Notaries do not have time, because the private affairs of the citizens of the European Union cannot wait. Citizens turn to notaries to deal with their private family and economic affairs. This trust is even more important during a period of economic crisis.”
Ms Paraskevi Michou gave a reminder of the excellent cooperation between her department and the CNUE that had a “direct impact” on European instruments, such as the new regulation on international successions. On this subject, Ms Michou announced progress of the European Certificate of Succession before the end of the year. Against a backdrop of European elections and the end of the Stockholm programme, Ms Michou called on the notariat to get involved in defining future priorities for the construction of a legal Europe. She invited the European notariat to attend the Assises de la Justice, a major conference due to take place in Brussels on 21 and 22 November 2013, which would provide an opportunity to contribute to on-going reflections.
Ms Lucija Popov gave a comprehensive historical account of the notarial profession in her country. She then talked about the national political and legislative developments of recent years. For example, the Croatian notariat has received competences in the area of company law, with respect to commercial companies and their statutory changes. In 2004, a new law on successions was passed, giving notaries an important place in settling successions. The national Chamber now also hosts the register of wills. Ms Popov also insisted on the continuous training provided for Croatian notaries and the emphasis on European law.
Then coming back to the Croatian notariat’s membership of the CNUE, Ms Popov declared, “We became a member of the UINL In 1997. In 2004, we became an observer member of the CNUE. Since 2007, we have participated actively in the European Notarial Network and this has enabled us to take part in the European notariat’s various projects intended for citizens (…). We will celebrate the Croatian notariat’s twentieth anniversary next year. During these years, we have fought for our status. We have aged prematurely for this, in order to achieve excellence and to gain recognition from the authorities and citizens. I therefore wish to thank the Ministry of Justice for accompanying us on this path and the CNUE member notariats for their support.”
All photos: © Alain Bienenstock