In order to reinforce the fight against serious organised crime, the European Council decided to set up Eurojust: a body composed of prosecutors, magistrates or police officers of equivalent competence.
What is Eurojust?
Eurojust is a European Union body established in 2002 to stimulate and improve the coordination of investigations and prosecutions among the competent judicial authorities of the European Union Member States when they deal with serious cross-border and organised crime.
What are the objectives of Eurojust?
In the context of investigations and prosecutions concerning two or more Member States, Eurojust's goal is to stimulate and improve the coordination between national authorities, taking into account any request coming from a competent authority of a Member State and any information provided by any body competent by virtue of provisions adopted within the framework of the Treaties (the European Judicial Network in criminal matters, Europol, and OLAF).
Another of Eurojust's objectives is to improve cooperation between the competent authorities, in particular by facilitating the execution of international mutual legal assistance and the implementation of European Arrest Warrants.
Eurojust also supports the competent authorities in order to improve the effectiveness of investigations and prosecutions. It can assist investigations and prosecutions between a Member State and a non-Member State or a Member State and the Commission regarding criminal offences affecting the European Union's financial interests.
Eurojust enhances the efficiency of national investigating and prosecuting authorities when dealing with serious cross-border and organised crime, e.g. terrorism, trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking, fraud and money laundering, in order to bring criminals quickly and effectively to justice.
How does Eurojust function?
Eurojust fulfils its tasks through its National Members or as a College. It has the power to ask the competent national authorities to undertake an investigation or prosecution of specific acts; to determine that one of them may be in a better position to undertake an investigation or to prosecute specific acts; to coordinate between the competent authorities; to set up a joint investigation team; or to provide any information necessary to carry out its tasks.
Eurojust ensures the information exchange between the competent authorities and assists them in providing the best possible coordination and cooperation. Eurojust also cooperates with the European Judicial Network, Europol, and OLAF. Eurojust offers logistical support and may organise and facilitate coordination meetings between the judicial authorities and police authorities of the different states to help resolve legal issues and practical problems.
What is the composition of Eurojust?
Eurojust is composed of 28 National Members, one from each EU Member State. National Members are seconded in accordance with their respective legal systems and hold permanent seats in The Hague. The National Members are senior, experienced prosecutors, judges, or police officers of equivalent competence. Some National Members are supported by Deputies, Assistants or Seconded National Experts.
Strengthening of Eurojust
On 4 June 2009, the Council adopted a new Decision strengthening Eurojust. The objectives of the new Decision to strengthen Eurojust include the following:
- creating a common minimum basis of National Members’ powers
- creating an emergency coordination mechanism
- improving the transmission of information to Eurojust
- improving Eurojust’s national base
- reinforcing the relationship between Eurojust and the EJN
- strengthening judicial cooperation with non-EU countries by allowing Eurojust to post liaison magistrates in these countries and strengthening cooperation with other bodies such as Europol, OLAF and Frontex.
A proposal for a regulation on Eurojust was adopted on 17 July 2014. The aim was to improve Eurojust's operational effectiveness. Negotiations on the proposal are on-going.
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Last update: 01/10/2015