The EU Commission has confirmed: Eurojust officially becomes the European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation. New structure and data protection regime.
With the application of the Eurojust Regulation as the new legal basis, Eurojust strengthens its ability of fighting increasing levels of cross-border crime, with an Executive Board dealing with administrative matters and giving the College of prosecutors from all Member States more leeway to focus on the continuously rising number of criminal cases. Eurojust will start applying many of the standard rules of the decentralised Agencies.
Eurojust President Mr Ladislav Hamran said: “This is an important step for Eurojust, marking the beginning of a new phase in our existence. The new Regulation improves our decision-making process and gives us a more elaborate legal basis to work on. This means that we can continue to support National Members and their teams in the fight against cross-border crime, while being better prepared for the future challenges that await us.”
For European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, this marks a new phase for Eurojust. For the new commissioner the new legal basis and expansion of the scope are good ways forward to help Eurojust improve its actions against international criminal networks and to enhance security in the European Union.
The main changes are:
- A new governance structure, with an Executive Board of six members.
- A new data protection regime, adapting it to the revised EU legal framework on data protection;
- The alignment of Eurojust’s external relations with the principles introduced in this field by the Treaty of Lisbon;
- The strengthened role of the European and national Parliaments in the democratic oversight of Eurojust’s activities;
- The new relationship between Eurojust and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office based on mutual cooperation within their respective mandates and competences, and the development of operational, management and possibly administrative links;
- Because Denmark is not bound by the Eurojust Regulation, on 11 December, a cooperation agreement between Denmark and Eurojust has taken effect. The Danish Desk will be replaced by a Representative, a Deputy and an Assistant, who may attend College meetings as an observer without voting rights, and may exchange information with the National Desks; and
- Genocide and war crimes have been added to forms of serious crime for which Eurojust shall be competent and that are listed in Annex 1 to the Regulation.
The College of Eurojust, comprising all the National Members, will remain in place, as will the Administrative Director. An Executive Board will be established to assist the College. The Executive Board will be composed of the President and two Vice-Presidents, a representative of the European Commission when the College exercises its management functions and two other College National Members designated on a two-year rotation system. The Administrative Director attends the meetings of the Executive Board without the right to vote. The data protection regime applicable to Eurojust will also change. For instance, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) will be responsible for the external supervision of our compliance, replacing the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB).
Since its inauguration at EU Council of Tampere in 1999, Eurojust witnessed a strong increase in handled cases. While it was in the beginning (2002) only involved in 202 investigations, this number increased rapidly into the thousands. In 2018, Eurojust was involved in more than 6500 investigations. The vast majority deals with fraud, money laundering and drug trafficking.
Nevertheless, EU’s budgetary spending decreased over the last years. While the budget in 2017 was at 49 million euros it went down to 37 million euros in fiscal year 2019.