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In the area of justice, the European Commission has two financing programmes, "Civil Justice" and "Criminal Justice". These two programmes, which cover the period from 2007 to 2013, are part of the general programme on "Fundamental Rights and Justice". They enable the European Commission to finance activities intended to promote judicial cooperation with the aim of contributing to the creation of a genuine European area of justice in civil matters and in criminal matters.


Different legal bases but similar tools

Each of the two financing programmes has its own legal basis. The "Civil Justice" programme was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council under codecision on the basis of Article 61 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, whereas the "Criminal Justice" programme was adopted by the Council alone on the basis of Article 31 of the Treaty on European Union.

On the other hand, the means of action under the two programmes are similar. Under these instruments, the Commission may finance:

  • actions with a European dimension launched on its own initiative.In this case, the Commission enters into procurement contracts with external providers chosen by means of procurement procedures.  The actions are 100 % financed and their results belong to the Commission.
  • specific transnational projects involving at least two partners from different Member States or one Member State and one acceding or candidate country (under certain conditions, the "Criminal Justice" programme may finance national projects);
  • annual activity programmes of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) or other bodies pursuing an objective of general European interest in line with the objectives of the programme.

In the latter two cases, projects are chosen by the Commission on the basis of recommendations by an evaluation committee, following a procedure involving calls for proposals. The Commission signs grant agreements with the selected beneficiaries. In these cases, the actions are co-financed, in principle up to 80 % of eligible costs, and the results belong to the beneficiaries.

Every year, a new work programme, new priorities and new calls for proposals

The annual work programmes of the Civil Justice programme and the Criminal Justice programme, defining the Commission's policy priorities for the coming year, are published on the Link opens in new windowInternet site of the European Commission's DG for Justice, as are the calls for proposals and all the information needed to submit an application.

Both the Criminal Justice programme and the Civil Justice programme will expire in 2013. For the period 2014-2020, a new Justice Programme is being prepared, covering both civil justice and criminal justice. More information is available under the following Link opens in new window here .

Reporting of fraud and irregularities

Have you received any information on allegations of fraud, corruption, or other illegal activities involving money from the EU budget? Please do not stay silent and report it as soon as possible to Link opens in new windowthe European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

OLAF's mission is to protect the financial interest of the European Union by fighting fraud affecting the EU budget, corruption and any other irregular activity, including misconduct within the European Institutions, in an independent manner.

This page is maintained by the European Commission. The information on this page does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission. The Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice with regard to copyright rules for European pages.

Last update: 12/11/2012