EU’s judicial cooperation arm, Eurojust, to become more effective with new rules

Eurojust 2018

© European Communities , 2009   /  Source: EC – Audiovisual Service   /   Photo: Thomas Haley

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

MEPs adopted on Thursday updated rules to clarify the role of Eurojust and improve its effectiveness.

Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation unit, facilitates cross-border investigations and prosecutions of serious crimes in the EU. The changes in the Agency’s functioning and structure, including a new governance model, will make Eurojust more efficient in tackling cross-border crime.

The updated rules also take into account the establishment of the European public prosecutor’s office (EPPO), expected to be operational between 2020 and 2021, as well as the new rules on data protection for EU institutions and agencies. Furthermore, with the revision of the rules, the European Parliament and national parliaments will in future be more involved in evaluating Eurojust’s activities.

Quote

European Parliament rapporteur Axel Voss (EPP, DE) said: “With this reform, we are adapting the legal framework of this crucial agency to the new challenges in our common fight against crime and terrorism. By doing this, we are making sure that Eurojust can continue its excellent work of supporting national authorities, facilitating cross-border investigations and coordinating prosecutions.”

Next steps

The new rules were approved by 515 votes to 64, with 26 abstentions. They have already been agreed upon by the Parliament and Council negotiators in June, but still require the formal approval of the Council.

The regulation will take effect one year after its publication.

Background

The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) was set up in 2002 to improve the coordination and cooperation in investigations and prosecutions between the competent authorities in the Member States. It deals with serious cross-border and organised crime such as terrorism, human trafficking, drugs and arms, sexual exploitation of women and children, cybercrime and online child abuse.

In 2017, EU countries requested Eurojust’s assistance in 2550 cases representing a 10.6 % increase from 2016. 849 of these cases were closed during the same year.

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