EU-level Developments on Fundamental Rights

European Commission Propoæses New EU-wide Rules to Combat Violence against Women and Domestic Violence

The European Commission submitted the Proposal for a Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence [1] to the European Parliament and the European Council on 8 March 2022. The legislative procedure of the proposal is ongoing.

With the entry into force of the proposed directive,

  • A single authorized mechanism will be determined for all support and protection services in member states, which will strengthen victims’ access to justice,
  • Sufficient professional protection and support will be provided through crisis centres and free of charge help lines,
  • Targeted support will be provided to groups at risk or with specific needs, including women fleeing armed conflict,
  • Specific protection measures will be provided to child and women victims of violence,
  • it will be ensured that the EU member states take the necessary minimum measures for prevention, protection, support, access to justice and coordination regarding victims of violence, and that these measures are monitored and implemented at the EU level,
  • A data collection tool will be developed for the first time by the European Institute for Gender Equality to measure violence against women and domestic violence.

Proposal for a New EU Directive for Improving the Presence of Women on Boards of Directors

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union announced on 7 June 2022 the political agreement on the Proposal for a Directive [2] on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges.

With the completion of the legislative process,

  • A minimum objective of a 40% presence of women among the non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges in the EU Member States or a minimum objective of a 33% presence of women among all directors in such companies will be set,
    Regardless of gender, it will become mandatory to determine clear and transparent board appointment procedures by making an objective evaluation based on merit.

Regulation Establishing New Rules for Combating Terrorism on Online Platforms Entered into Force

The Regulation (EU) 2021/784 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2021 on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online [3] entered into force on 7 June 2022.

The Regulation aims to prevent the use of the online services for the purpose of disseminating terrorist content. In accordance with the Regulation, competent authorities will be established in member states responsible for detection of the terrorist content and coordination with hosting service providers. While the Regulation sets forth that terrorist content will be removed by the hosting service provider within one hour at the latest of the receipt of the removal order from the competent authority, it also introduces strong measures to ensure the full protection of freedom of expression and the right to information.

European Commission Proposes to Expand the List of EU Crimes to Include Hate Speech and Hate Crime

On 9 December 2021, the European Commission published a Communication [4] on extending the list of EU crimes in the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU to include hate speech and hate crime.