The European Commission is proposing new rules aimed at providing cross-border protection for adults who are not able to protect their own interests.
Those covered by the proposals include people who have an age-related disease, such as Alzheimer's disease, or those who have a health condition.
“In the context of a growing cross-border mobility of people in the EU, this gives rise to numerous challenges,” the commission says, adding that there are currently no EU laws in place to protect such people.
It says that individuals or their representatives may need to manage assets or property in another country, seek medical care abroad, or relocate to a different EU country.
“In such cross-border situations, they often face complex, and sometimes conflicting, laws of member states, leading to legal uncertainty and lengthy proceedings,” the EU body states.
The proposed regulation introduces a streamlined set of rules that will apply within the EU, establishing which court has jurisdiction, which law is applicable, under what conditions a foreign measure or foreign powers of representation should be given effect, and how authorities can co-operate.
The regulation also proposes what the commission describes as “a set of practical tools”, such as:
- Facilitating digital communication,
- Introducing a European Certificate of Representation, which will make it easier for representatives to prove their powers in another member state,
- Establishing interconnected registers that will provide information on the existence of protection in another member state, and
- Promoting closer co-operation among authorities.
The proposal provides for a uniform legal framework for protecting adults involving non-EU countries. It obliges all EU member states to become or remain parties to the 2000 Hague Protection of Adults Convention.
The commission says that, despite its efforts to promote ratification of the 2000 agreement, many EU members have still not become partners.
The proposal for a regulation will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the EU Council.