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Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders

In December 2016, the Commission tabled a Proposal for a Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders, pursuant to Article 82(1) TFEU.

Once adopted, the Regulation shall replace Framework Decisions 2003/577/JHA and 2006/783/JHA for the Member States that will be bound by it. The Regulation shall instead complement the Directive 2014/42/EU: as the Commission holds in the Explanatory Memorandum, the Directive improves the domestic possibilities to freeze and confiscate assets, whereas the proposal for a new Regulation aims to improve the cross-border enforcement of freezing and confiscation orders. Together, the Commission concludes, both instruments should contribute to effective asset recovery in the European Union.

The proposed Regulation will cover third-party confiscation and criminal non-conviction based confiscation and will no longer provide for wide discretion to refuse recognition in case of extended confiscation. Inter alia, the speedy and efficient mechanism will be ensured thanks to a standardised certificate for mutual recognition of confiscation orders and a standard form for freezing orders (both are annexed to the proposal). Finally, the proposed Regulation takes duly into account the victim’s right to compensation and restitution: in cases where the issuing State confiscates property, the victim’s right to compensation and restitution shall indeed have priority over the executing and issuing States’ interest.

It is worth noting that the choice of legal instrument (a Regulation rather than a Directive) has been criticised by a number of Member States.

type: Proposal

Reference number: COM (2016) 819 final

Issue date: 21-12-16

Official Journal: Not yet published in the Official Journal

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