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EU Commission Proposal to Accede to Hague Judgments Convention

On 16 July 2021, the EU Commission has issued a Proposal for a Council Decision on the accession by the European Union to the Hague Convention of 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters.

Under the Proposal, the EU would make two declarations.

External Competence

The European Union declares, in accordance with Article 27(1) of the Convention, that it exercises competence over all the matters governed by this Convention. Its Member States will not sign, ratify, accept or approve the Convention, but shall be bound by the Convention by virtue of its conclusion by the European Union. 

For the purpose of this declaration, the term “European Union” does not include the Kingdom of Denmark by virtue of Articles 1 and 2 of the Protocol (No 22) on the position of Denmark annexed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Commercial Tenancies

The European Union hereby declares under Article 18 of the Convention that it will not apply the Convention to commercial leases (tenancies) of immovable property situated in the European Union.

The declaration is explained as follows:

a declaration is needed in order to ensure that the achievement of the policy objectives of the Brussels Ia Regulation is not affected by the accession to the Convention. More specifically, in cases involving commercial tenancies, the Brussels Ia Regulation affords exclusive jurisdiction to courts in a Member State where the immovable property is located. The Judgments Convention does not include such exclusive jurisdictional rules for commercial tenancies. Therefore, under the Convention, Member States would be obliged to recognise and enforce third-country judgments on commercial leases of immovable property that is situated on their territory. This would be in contradiction to the policy objective behind the Brussels Ia Regulation to attribute exclusive jurisdiction to courts in the EU for disputes related to immovable property situated in the EU.

No Declaration Pursuant to Articles 18 and 19

The Commission will not make declarations pursuant to Articles 18 and 19 of the Convention.

On the possibility to make declarations, Member States opposed a declaration based on Article 19 of the Convention and did not express clear views on declarations under Article 18. Only a small number of stakeholders favoured accession with a declaration under Article 19 while there was no clear tendency detected for Article 18 declarations.

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