Nieuwsbericht | 23-02-2006
Brussels, 23 February 2006
People convicted of a criminal offence are sometimes banned from exercising certain rights or activities. A person convicted of a sexual offence, for instance, might be banned from working with children, and a person convicted of a corruption offence might be excluded from public tendering procedures. The effectiveness of such penalties can sometimes depend on recognition and enforcement in the Union. The Commission has today adopted a communication that takes stock of this complex issue.
In all the Member States and at EU level, there is a wide range of disqualification measures of different types that can be enforced in very different ways. They may be the automatic consequence of a conviction or be ordered by a court or an administrative authority. These differences explain why information about them circulates in such haphazard fashion. And even where information is available, it is not always usable since the absence of harmonisation itself constitutes a barrier to mutual recognition.
The Commission has accordingly opted for an approach that seeks to improve the flow of information on convictions recorded in national court records. The existence of a criminal conviction giving rise to a disqualification is the common denominator between the Member States. Exhaustive access to information on convictions handed down in the other Member States should allow better use to be made of the information, in particular to ascertain whether a person should be given access to certain professions or activities. In July 2004, following the Fourniret child abuse case, the Commission undertook to do all in its power to ensure that information on criminal convictions flowed properly between the Member States. Several legislative instruments to remedy the various gaps in existing exchange mechanisms were proposed in 2004 et 2005, and work is continuing.
Regarding mutual recognition of disqualifications as such, the Commission prefers a "sectoral" solution in matters where there is already a common basis among the Member States (bans on occupying positions in relation to children, and driving disqualifications).
Cfr: IP/05/328 , Memo/05/26 and Mémo/06/17