On the 1st of December, the EU will decide on its priorities in the realm of Justice for the period 2010-2014. These priorities, to be laid down in the so-called Stockholm programme, are currently debated under the Swedish EU presidency. Topics as police and customs cooperation, creating inter-European legal certainty, and strengthening support to crime victims are high on the list. In order to bring probation on the EU agenda too, CEP addressed directly to both the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom & Security Jacques Barrot  and the Swedish minister of Justice Beatrice Ask. “I am very curious what the Stockholm programme will bring for the development of probation in Europe”, says CEP President Patrick Madigou.

This initiative results from the meeting of the CEP President and Secretary-General to EU Commissioner Barrot in January of this year. At this meeting Mr. Barrot showed to be convinced of the benefits of  probation. He invited CEP to elaborate some of the discussed themes to  plans that he could introduce in the Stockholm-programme.

To follow up on this invitation CEP worked out four actions to enhance the development of probation in Europe. The basis for these plans were the six priorities which CEP had identified during its consultation round among this members at the end of 2008. “In order to keep our contribution to the Stockholm programme clear and concise, we have integrated three priorities in one proposed action”, Partick Madigou informs. “The priorities on Resettlement of Offenders and on Research & Satistics have been ranged under another priority, the establishment of a Centre of Probation Excellence. The other three priorities each have their ‘own proposal’, i.e. the implementation of the EU Framework Decision on Probation Measures and Alternative Sanctions, the development of a EU-wide regulatory framework for Electronic Monitoring, and the promotion of Restorative Justice.”

The CEP contribution to the Stockholm programme were sent to Mr. Barrot by the end of August. Patrick Madigou: “We have sent copies to our member organizations, with the question if they could bring up the CEP proposals in their national Ministry of Justice. As such they  also could be incorporated in the various national contributions to the Stockholm programme. Our member from Sweden suggested to send the CEP contribution directly to Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask as well. After all she is the president of the Council of Ministers that decides on the Stockholm programme. So in September, we have informed Mrs. Ask about our contribution too.”

With the CEP proposals widely spread over the territory of the EU Patrick Madigou is curious about the final text of the Stockholm programme. “There is clearly a tendency in the EU to give more attention to probation. It would be a huge success if ‘probation’ would be mentioned explicitly in the Stockholm programme. However, I am not sure if that will happen. Like the preceding programmes, the Stockholm programme describes objectives to be pursued in the realm of Justice, for instance creating greater legal certainty. It probably won’t get into detail about the role that the different actors in field of justice should play in these objectives. In any case  I am confident that the Stockholm programme will give the sector of probation various opportunities to develop.”

To read the CEP contribution to the Stockholm programme, click here.

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