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Key EU terms: D

19 February 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 24 February 2010

A list of key EU legal terminology: D


Daphne programme

A European Commission programme specifically aimed at stopping violence against children, young people and women. Participation is open to EU Member States and candidate countries.

Data on immigration

EU Member States can exchange data on immigration through an archiving system called FADO, which will contain information on genuine and false documents.

Data protection

Activities coordinated at EU level in the field of justice and home affairs are subject to national and EU laws designed to protect the data of individuals or organisations from improper disclosure or use.


The party owing a debt to another party in insolvency proceedings. EU initiatives to develop uniform procedures on insolvency proceedings will make it more difficult for a debtor to escape obligations.

Decision and framework decision

New instruments introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam under Title VI of the EU Treaty (Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters). Framework decisions are used to align the laws and regulations of the Member States. Decisions are used for any purpose other than approximating the laws and regulations of the Member States.

Delivery of visas

Within the EU's common strategy for the Mediterranean, one of the main priorities in justice and home affairs is to simplify and accelerate procedures for delivery of visas between the EU and the non-EU countries of the Mediterranean.

Demand reduction

Activities aimed at preventing drug use, assisting and treating drug users, reducing the harmful consequences of such use and promoting positive health.

Deprivation of liberty

A sanction reserved for those convicted of certain criminal offences. To tackle international financial crime, the EU is proposing common definitions, incriminations and sanctions to be established throughout the Union.


The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights includes a section dealing with dignity. Though the charter is not yet part of the EU Treaty, citizens can refer to it in challenging decisions taken by EU institutions.

Diplomatic protection

EU citizenship confers the right to the diplomatic protection of any EU Member State while the citizen is outside the EU, provided that the citizen's own country is not represented in the State in which he or she finds him or herself.


The European Commission is composed of 27 Commissioners, each with their own administration headed by Director-Generals.

Directorate-General of the Justice and Home Affairs DG

The administration within the Commission responsible for policy and legal proposals in justice and home affairs, and liaison in the field with other EU institutions and Member States.


The Treaty of European Union makes protection from discrimination based on nationality, gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation a fundamental right of EU citizenship.


The EU is promoting the settling of cross-border civil disputes through alternate dispute resolution methods where it is attempted to reach an agreement through arbitrage rather than the courts.


The legal termination of a marriage contract. The EU is further developing its initiatives allowing court decisions relating to family law to be recognised and enforced throughout the Union.

Divorced couples

Divorced couples can expect to have the proceedings related to their divorce recognised throughout the EU.

Drug smuggling

The movement of illegal drugs across borders. Customs authorities across the EU cooperate, together with Europol to frustrate drug smuggling.

Drug supply

The term used to describe all activities that contribute towards making drugs available to the general population. Tackling drug supply is to a large extent a law enforcement issue.

Drug trafficking 1

Dealing in and transporting illegal drugs. Law enforcement agencies throughout the EU cooperate with Europol and with agencies outside the EU to stem the flow of illegal drugs.

Drug trafficking 2

The act of smuggling illegal drugs through countries to reach their target audience. Trafficking is often controlled by organised crime.

Dublin Convention (asylum)

Adopted in 1990 and entering into force in 1997, the convention establishes a series of criteria allocating responsibility for examining an asylum application to the Member State that permitted the applicant to enter or reside in the EU.

Dublin Convention (enlargement)

Determines the State responsible for examining applications for asylum lodged in one of the EU Member States.

Dublin Group

An informal body set up in 1990 to coordinate international drugs policy; it includes EU Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway and the United States. The group hosts working groups on issues relevant to particular regions.

Dublin system

The Dublin Convention and its successor, the Dublin Regulation, set the rules concerning which Member State is responsible for handling an asylum application. The objective of the system is to avoid multiple asylum applications, also known as 'asylum shopping'.

Source: European Commission - Justice and Home Affairs

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