Brief

Danish opt-out harms fight against stalking

Opt-out harms fight against stalking

Summary New EU rules regarding protection for victims of stalking and harrassment enters into force in January 2015. The rules entail that victims that are ensured protection in a given EU member state have the right to the same protection in other EU countries without having to fear that the stalker will follow them.

Denmark is the only country of the 28 EU member states where the new rules are not valid due to the Danish opt-out on judicial and home affairs. This entails that Danish citizens that have been victims of harassment, persecution or stalking cannot enjoy the same borderless protection and security as their European peers.
 
The Danish government can attempt to negotiate a parallel agreement regarding the new law with the other EU countries, but it is doubtful that the European Commission will approve of such a deal. On the other hand, if Denmark were to alter its opt-out to an opt-in model or to abolish the judicial opt-out altogether Danish victims would receive far better protection.

Main conclusion
  • New EU rules commencing in january 2015 will ensure better protection across borders for victims of stalking and harrassment.
  • Amongst elements of the new rules is the mutual recognition of the need for protection, which means that guaranteed protection in one EU country will be valid for all EU countries.
  • Denmark is the only EU member state where the new rules are not valid.
  • This means that Danish victims that have been guaranteed protection from a perpetrator will not enjoy the same security in other EU countries. Likewise, citizens from other EU countries will not be as well protected in Denmark as in the rest of the EU.
  • Given a referendum on the matter, a so-called opt-in model that could replace the current opt-out from judicial and home affairs and thus ensure better protection for victims of stalking.
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