The closing conference of the CROBECO (Cross Border Electronic Conveyancing of Land) project carried out by European Land Registration Association (ELRA) was as European as can be, with speakers from The Netherlands, Spain, England, Portugal and many more nationalities and … Continue reading
In the past six months, the European private law debate has been gaining momentum. The publication of the proposal for a Common European Sales Law, much debated already – such as in M-EPLI’s Round Table Conference held on 9 December … Continue reading
On 14 June 2011 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Diana Wallis VP MEP and Ramon Tremosa MEP organised a seminar on European property law. The seminar was instigated by the many complaints the Parliament (and the Commission) receives over the years from citizens experiencing difficulties during of after the acquisition of property rights in another Member State. Speakers included (in order of appearance) representative from victims organisations from Empuriabrava Brigtte Anquetil, M-EPLI Fellows dr. Bram Akkermans and Professor Sjef van Erp, Professor Peter Sparkes form the University of Southamption, pacticing lawyer Andrew Walker QC, President Gabriel Alonso Landeta of the European Land Registration Association (ELRA), Xavier Ibarrondo from Eurojuris. Surprise speakers included mr. David Lowe from the European Parliament secretariat supporting the EPs Petitions Committee and mr. Joftsa Petri from the European Commission DG Justice.
During the seminar, which is really the first time that one of the EU’s Institutions pays elaborate attention to matters of property law, especially land law, we discussed current problems of cross-border conveyancing, current and future approaches of European Union law and practical solutions to existing problems. M-EPLI fellows Bram Akkermans and Sjef van Erp contributed on the current and future state of property law in the European Union.
It seems clear that there are an increasing number of EU citizens acquiring ownership or other property rights on land in other Member States. When you think about it, freedom of ownership underlies any free market economy and should therefore be a fundamental aspect of European integration. From that point of view it therefore remarkable that there is not really any European property law, something that several speakers remarked upon. Of course property law is a sensitive issue for Member States and as such forms a barrier when speaking about property law in the European Union. Mr. David Lowe, head of the secretariat to the petitions committee of the European Parliament during the event even went as far as quoting Article 345 TFEU that states that the treaties shall in no way prejudice the rules of the Member States governing the system of property ownership and that therefore there might be a problem with the competence of the EU in this field. This is, luckily, increasingly becoming a less supported viewpoint as more and more property lawyers take another view. The Helsinki seminar that I reported on before, dealt explicitly with this question.
Moreover, it is not entirely clear that legislative intervention is the best solution. Gabriel Alonso Landeta, president of ELRA, presented the CROBECO project, to which I also paid attention before. The CROBECO project exactly tries to solve legal problems by making use of existing law, rather then relying on European legislative action to make cross-border conveyancing work.
It is clear that this is just the beginning. European Commission representative mr. Joftsa Petri stated that although problems are clear, we have work to do to find suitable European solutions. Written contributions are planned to be published later this year.
UPDATE 5 July 2011: a video is now available on youtube
A while ago I reported on the first CROBECO (Cross Border Electronic Conveyancing of Land) conference held in Brussels in November 2010. Much has happened since and it is well worth to mention some of the developments for those following … Continue reading