Since yesterday, 3 April 2007, the European Community is a formal member of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
The accession of the European Community, which comes in addition to the individual membership of all 27 EU Member States, has been facilitated by amendments to the Statute of the Hague Conference entered into force on 1 January 2007 which made it possible for certain Regional Economic Integration Organisations – and thus the EC – to become a Member of the Hague Conference.
The deposit of the instrument of accession took place during a ceremony at the Academy of International Law in The Hague.
The significance of the accession has been emphasised by the German Minister of Justice, Brigitte Zypries, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union by stating:
International commercial relations are continually increasing. Europe´s citizens are becoming increasingly mobile as well; more and more people are living and working not only in other Member States but outside the EU as well. Given these developments, we need clear rules on how claims may be asserted beyond the borders of the European Union. Despite differing legal systems, our aim is to attain the greatest possible degree of legal certainty and transparency, for both private individuals and companies. With today´s accession to the Hague Conference, the European Community will be able to bring these interests of EU citizens directly into the negotiations on future Hague Conventions.
as well as Vice-President Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Freedom, Security and Justice who pointed out:
Our aim is to facilitate EU citizens' life setting clear rules as regards jurisdiction of the courts, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of judgments not only within the EU territory, but also at international level. The accession of the European Community to the Hague Conference will allow for increased consistency as regards private international law, making life easier for those who decide to move and reside abroad.
See also our older post on the EU Council decision on the accession to the Hague Conference which can be found here.