EU states to pay crime victims

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Victims of crime or terrorism in the European Union should be eligible for compensation from their government, the European Commission proposed yesterday. [Current rules on compensation vary across the 15-nation bloc, while Italy has no state-funded awards. Greece only offers awards to victims of terrorism. But if the new proposal is adopted, Athens will find itself having to pay compensation to the victims of ordinary criminal acts, and to their relatives.] And there is no system for cross-border compensation awards. «EU citizens and residents may find themselves in a situation where they are left without any compensation at all for the losses they have suffered as a result of a crime,» EU Justice Commissioner Antonio Vitorino said in a statement. «It is therefore crucial that a right to adequate compensation is introduced for all crime victims in the EU.» The proposal requires each state to provide compensation for victims, or for their relatives in cases where the crime led to the victim’s death. Governments would have to fund payouts for crimes within their borders and help their own citizens who were seeking compensation for crimes which took place elsewhere in the EU. The compensation would cover any pain and suffering caused by the crime as well as financial losses such as medical expenses and loss of income. If victims failed to get compensation from the offender, states could try on their behalf but would have to pay up if the attempt failed or if damages were not paid within two years. States would also have to top up payouts from insurance or from the offender to make sure the victim got full compensation.