The European Commission has issued at the end of April 2013 a new Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on promoting the free movement of citizens and businesses by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 (COM(2013)228).
The scope of this proposal covers public documents issued by authorities of the Member States and having formal evidentiary value relating to birth, death, name, marriage, registered partnership, parenthood, adoption, residence, citizenship, nationality, real estate, legal status and representation of a company or other undertaking, intellectual property rights and absence of a criminal record. Documents drawn up by private persons and documents issued by authorities of third States are excluded from its scope.
The proposal establishes a clear set of rules exempting public documents falling under its scope from legalisation or similar formality (Apostille). In also foresees simplification of other formalities related to the cross-border acceptance of public documents, namely of certified copies and certified translations. In order to guarantee the authenticity of public documents which circulate from one Member State to another, it introduces an effective and secure administrative cooperation based on the Internal Market Information System (“the IMI”), established by Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012. The IMI includes also a functionality to maintain a repository of model templates of public documents used within the Single Market that can serve as first checking point of unfamiliar documents.
The proposal also establishes Union multilingual standard forms concerning birth, death, marriage, registered partnership and legal status and representation of a company or other undertaking. In addition, with the aim to further reduce the remaining translation requirements for EU citizens and businesses, such Union multilingual standard forms could be established at a later stage for public documents relating to name, parenthood, adoption, residence, citizenship and nationality, real estate, intellectual property rights and absence of a criminal record. The Union multilingual standard forms should not be mandatory but when used they have the same formal evidentiary value as the similar public documents drawn up by the authorities of the issuing Member State.