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The Commission published a legislative proposal on legal aid in November 2013. The Council reached its negotiating position in March 2015, and the Parliament in May 2015. Secret "trilogue" negotiations between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament are ongoing. A parliamentary vote on a text is anticipated in April 2016.
"The Presidency informed the Council about the state of play of the negotiations".
"In order to prepare for this trilogue, the Presidency would like to obtain the views of the Member States on the orientation vote adopted by the LIBE Committee. In particular, the Presidency would appreciate obtaining the views of the Member States on the EP amendments concerning the articles of the draft Directive and a selected number of related recitals, where appropriate." Includes a table showing, article-by-article, the different positions of the institutions.
Preparation for the Council meeting on 16 June 2015 (see below).
"The CoE thanked for having been invited to provide comments... The contribution on the Legal aid Directive is expected to be released soon..."
"The Council was informed about the state of play of a number of legislative proposals, including... the directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings."
Notes the adoption of the LIBE report (the Parliament's negotiating position) on 18 May 2015.
The LIBE committee report on the proposal, adopted by 47 votes to 7. The report constitutes the negotiating position of the Parliament for "trilogues" with the Council and Commission. Pages 33-35 contain the rapporteur's explanatory statement, which notes: "The proposal of the Commission is... restricted to the right to provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings who are deprived of liberty, and the right to provisional legal aid and to legal aid for requested persons who are subject to European arrest warrant proceedings... "The Rapporteur takes the view that the current, fragmented approach followed by the European Commission may reflect the sensitivity of the subject, but it does not increase legal certainty, nor does it make it clear for suspected or accused persons to what extent they will effectively have a right to legal aid and what the quality of the legal assistance will be."
Notes the approval by the Council of the general approach and also contains a statement from Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Lithuania in which those states oppose elements of the general approach but consent to its approval anyway: "They consider that the future directive on legal aid must enable all European citizens to enjoy a practical and effective exercise of the right of access to a lawyer, as enshrined in directive 2013/48/EU. "They regret that the general approach submitted to the Council of Ministers of Justice on 13th March 2015 for this draft directive, by narrowing down its scope through wide and discretionary derogations, does not allow to achieve this aim. "They do not, however, wish to oppose the adoption of this general approach, in order to allow the legislative process to go further, and continue to discuss with the European Parliament and the Commission in the context of the trilogues.
Approval from the JHA Council for the general approach (negotiating position) on the proposed Directive contained in the 26 February document (see below). "The text, as it now stands, contains certain modifications to the proposal submitted by the Commission in order to define more precisely the scope of application of the Directive. In this respect, the directive should not apply to minor offences (article 2 (3)) or to situations related to temporary restrictions on the liberty of the person, where he or she might not be required or expected to exercise defence rights, and the right to provisional legal aid therefore does not arise (article 2 (4)). There is also a new provision allowing for the possibility of granting provisional legal aid in less serious offences when this is required in the interests of justice, as interpreted in the ECHR case-law (article 4 (2a))."
A note from the Presidency inviting the Council to reach agreement on the "general approach" (negotiating position) annexed.