Dr. Margarita Popova, formerly Vice-President and Minister of Justice for the Republic of Bulgaria; Georg Eisenreich, State Minister of Justice of the Free State of Bavaria; Guido Wolf, Minister of Justice for Baden-Württemberg; Dr. Frauke Bachler, IRZ Managing Director (from right to left)
Dr. Margarita Popova, formerly Vice-President and Minister of Justice for the Republic of Bulgaria; Georg Eisenreich, State Minister of Justice of the Free State of Bavaria; Guido Wolf, Minister of Justice for Baden-Württemberg; Dr. Frauke Bachler, IRZ Managing Director (from right to left)
Serbia

The Danube Ministerial Conference on Justice was held in Ulm on 11 and 12 September 2019. This event covered the most important issues concerning the current status of the rule of law in the European Union and in the Danube countries, which are currently preparing to join the EU. The Danube Ministerial Conference on Justice, which was attended by Ministers of Justice and other representatives of the Danube countries, was organised by the Ministry of Justice for Baden-Württemberg with the involvement of the IRZ.

The Minister of Justice for Baden-Württemberg, Guido Wolf, opened the conference together with the Lord Mayor of the City of Ulm, Gunter Czich. Dr. Frauke Bachler, IRZ Managing Director, introduced the participants to the activities of the IRZ. The main themes of the conference were introduced by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Herbert Küpper, Director of the Institute for Eastern European Law at Munich / Regensburg, and Vice-President of the Southeast Europe Association.

Afterwards, the participants discussed various aspects of the rule of law during the two-day conference:

  • Panel I: Are we united by the rule of law in Europe?
  • Panel II: Influences of German Law in the Western Balkans as a contribution to EU rapprochement
  • Panel III: Law and legal certainty – jurisdiction, procedure, appeal
  • Panel IV: Independence of the judicial system, careers between politics and law.

The high-ranking speakers included:

  • Dr. Josip Grubeša, Minister of Justice for Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • Georg Eisenreich, State Minister of Justice for the Free State of Bavaria,
  • Malte Graßhof, President of the Constitutional Court of Baden-Württemberg,
  • Dr. Janos Boka, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice of Hungary,
  • Tomaš Kafka, Head of the Central Europe Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and
  • Sebastian Weinzierl from the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers at the European Commission.

Panel II of the conference was moderated by Dr. Stefan Pürner, Head of Section at the IRZ. The influences of German Law in the Western Balkans as a contribution to EU rapprochement were discussed by Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić, a judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia, Prof. Dr. Miloš Živković from the Law Faculty in Belgrade, Former State Secretary Michael Haußner, who was formerly appointed by the IRZ to advise the Ministry of Justice of Croatia and Montenegro, and the former notary and judicial advisor Richard Bock, former Vice-President of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries (BNotK). They reported on their own experiences and provided an in-depth insight into the process of legal transformation. One critical point that was raised was the fact that various reform efforts unnecessarily abandon shared continental European heritage and that this leads to the creation of hybrid laws, whereas using German law, which is based on a shared legal tradition, as a point of reference would ensure greater sustainability and acceptance.

Dr. Margarita Popova, formerly Vice-President and Minister of Justice for the Republic of Bulgaria, underlined the fact that there is another way in the Panel IV discussions on the “Independence of the judicial system, careers between politics and law.” She highlighted her past cooperation with the Bavarian Ministry of Justice and the IRZ as a positive example of consultation on an equal footing, with respect for and knowledge of the traditions and culture of the partner country.