Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home topics EU law Key EU terms: P

Key EU terms: P

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

A list of key EU legal terminology: P


Partnership and cooperation agreement

An agreement in which two countries agree to cooperate in a variety of pre-defined areas. The EU has such agreements with both Russia and Ukraine on justice and home affairs.


It is generally agreed that, in order to constitute 'persecution', acts suffered or feared must be sufficiently serious by their nature or their repetition. They must either constitute a basic attack on human rights (life, freedom or physical integrity) or be based on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion which manifestly preclude the person who has suffered them from continuing to live in his or her country of origin.

Personal data

Information revealing a person's physical traits, age, history, beliefs, etc. The EU has strict rules on the storage and exchange of personal data.


Every citizen of the European Union has the right to submit a request to the European Parliament or to table a grievance before it on any subject falling within the spheres of Community activity and concerning him or her directly.


National police forces are increasingly cooperating with each other at EU level to fight cross-border crimes such as drugs trafficking and terrorism.

Police controls

All EU Member States, except Ireland and the UK, have abolished police checks at internal borders, but they may be temporarily re-erected on public security grounds.

Political rights

Since the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, all EU citizens have the right to vote and stand as candidates in municipal and European, although not national, elections.


EU law prohibits many polluting activities and provides for certain sanctions.

Pompidou Group

Cooperation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs - a constituent part of the Council of Europe. Its members include EU Member States, the European Commission and many other European and bordering countries. It assists countries to develop appropriate drug policies.


Each citizen's right to privacy is upheld in various EU instruments, including EU Court of Justice case-law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Professional secrecy

Companies' right to keep some aspects of their business confidential. This right is upheld by the EU, albeit with certain checks e.g. public safety.


EU programmes to help national authorities, professionals, academics and non-governmental associations to cooperate at EU level on justice and home affairs.


The EU Court of Justice in its extensive case-law has enshrined the right to own property.


A European Community principle, which states that the action taken must be proportionate to the objective it is intended to achieve.


In order to coordinate prosecutions relating to serious cross-border crime, the EU has set up Eurojust, a unit consisting of one prosecutor per Member State.


The EU believes that people unable to stay in their home country for fear of being persecuted should be given protection or asylum in the first safe country they reach.

Protection of children

Within the context of asylum, the EU has made special provisions to protect children, as they are not covered by the 1951 UN Geneva Convention on refugees.

Protection of unaccompanied minors

Refugee children who are unaccompanied by their parents or relatives are especially vulnerable and need extra protection.

Public order

It is EU policy that public order is a responsibility that should be carried out by a civilian body rather than by the armed forces.

Pursuit of suspects

The 1990 Schengen Convention allows police officers to cross the border into another Member State when in 'hot pursuit' of a suspect.

Source: European Commission - Justice and Home Affairs


Sponsor a Guide

EUbusiness Guides offer background information and web links about key EU business issues.

Promote your services by providing your own practical information and help to EUbusiness members, with your brand and contact details.

To sponsor a Guide phone us on +44 (0)20 7193 7242 or email sales.

EU Guides