Agreement to modernise judicial cooperation between France and Algeria


MEPs of the Legal Affairs Committee approved a package allowing France to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Algeria on judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters with 23 votes for, no votes against and no abstentions and on family law matters with 23 votes for, no votes against and no abstentions.

Judicial cooperation of the European Union with third countries relies on the existing multilateral framework created by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). This ensures that the same legal framework applies to a large number of states with different legal backgrounds and offers considerable benefits. The EU therefore promotes the accession of its partners to the relevant international conventions in the civil justice area, many of which were drawn up by the HCCH.

Agreement to modernise judicial cooperation

The aim of the agreement on civil and commercial matters is to modernise and consolidate countries´s cooperation in the judicial area by aligning some of the provisions with EU standards and allowing for the use of modern technology. The agreement on family law concerns recognition of decisions such as divorce, separation, parental responsibility or child abduction. However, since the areas of agreement concern EU acquis, fall within the EU competence and are thus subject to EU´s multilateral policy, the European Commission may observe the negotiations to minimise impact on EU acquis. Moreover, the agreement once negotiated will be subject to confirmation by EU bodies, will most probably be of limited time validity and will not apply to other member states. MEPs, however, suggest the possibility of tacit renewal of the agreement.

Exceptional situation

Such a bilateral agreement would represent an exception allowed on the basis of demonstrated very close bilateral relations between France and Algeria. Moreover, Algeria is not a member of the Hague Conference governing EU relations with third countries in the area of judicial cooperation, and has so far refused to accede to its core conventions. MEPs, however, encourage Algeria´s accession and want the country to alanyse obstacles preventing it. They also propose that the agreement is denounced or replaced if the EU concludes an agreement with Algeria or if Algeria becomes member of the Hague Conference.

Committee decision will be confirmed by the European Parliament plenary at one of its upcoming plenary sessions.

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