The European Commission (EC) proposed last week that a compensation scheme be set up for all victims of crime and terrorism in the EU.

The proposed Directive would set a minimum standard for the award of compensation.

It would also introduce a system of co-operation between national authorities to assist victims when applying for compensation in cross-border situations.

Compensation could also be awarded to relatives and dependants of victims .

It would be calculated according to national laws to take into account social, economic and legal differences.

Justice and Home Affairs Commissione António Vitorino said that, at present, EU citizens could find themselves in a situation where they received no compensation for losses they suffered as the result of a crime.

"As recognised by the European Parliament in its resolution adopted at the end of last month, this situation is not acceptable.

"It is, therefore, crucial that a right to adequate compensation is introduced for all crime victims in the EU," he said.

Thirteen member states have previously introduced state-funded general compensation schemes to address this problem, including the UK, with varying degrees of success.

The amount of compensation a victim can obtain is largely determined by which state the crime was committed in.

No assistance is available for victims who need to apply for compensation from another state.