The EESC welcomes this proposal's aim of simplification and rationalisation and supports the Commission's decision to merge the Civil Justice and Criminal justice programmes, which is justified by the fact that the objectives, stakeholders and types of action funded are very close.
However, the EESC continues to question the advisability of adding a third objective, i.e. to prevent and reduce drug demand and supply, to the first two "specific objectives" (judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters and facilitating access to justice).
The EESC shares the Commission's views that the management of funds for this programme should be as flexible as possible, in order to ensure optimum adaptability to the needs of civil society and to allow potential candidates as much freedom as possible, to promote the creativity of projects and to take future policy orientations into account.
The EESC stresses the importance of educating all citizens concerned on the conditions for access to funding, providing them with clear information in all EU languages.
Since the financial envelope for this programme is, in essence, small (although increasing, which the EESC welcomes), the EESC stresses the importance of focusing grants more rigorously on projects with clearly established European added value.
Regarding the need to pick out the priorities from among the actions eligible for funding, the EESC believes, in particular, that the emphasis should be put more clearly on e-justice.
The EESC welcomes the new direction taken in this proposal, which seeks to include all legal professionals and, in particular, lawyers in European judicial training and in transnational judicial cooperation networks.