Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Commission’s proposal to strengthen judicial cooperation with third countries was approved yesterday by EU member states.
At stake was the reinforcement of the European Union’s Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), which now will be able to enlarge the range of its judicial powers.
Eurojust’s enlarged powers
As an EU agency, Eurojust has the necessary authority to exercise its powers within the territory of EU member states. However, when it came to third countries, additional legal arrangements were required in order to establish the requisite legal basis for such interactions as well as to define the scope of interactions like cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding.
The Commission’s goal is to attain and ensure higher efficiency in transnational judicial cooperation. The negotiating mandates just approved by the Council will enable the EU executive to start negotiations on the exchange of information with 13 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.
“Diversity in legal systems and the increasing need to collect evidence outside the EU prompted the list of 13 countries Eurojust would like to cooperate more closely with. I am pleased the Commission can now open negotiations and look forward to implementing the future agreements”, Eurojust’s president Ladislav Hamran observed.
The Commission had approached the Council to authorise opening negotiations for these agreements on November 2020.
“We have to strengthen Eurojust’s role both inside and outside the EU. Criminals don’t stop at European borders, they act globally. With effective cooperation between EU countries and partner countries, we can catch more criminals and make the world safer”, the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, declared.
One important aspect of the negotiations will be to ensure adequate safeguards to protect personal data, privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, the Commission said.
Recently, the former president of the board of the Portuguese football club Boavista, Joāo Loureiro, was caught on a plane, reportedly with 578 kilos of cocaine. The flight had departed from Sāo Paulo, Brazil, when, due to mechanical failure, the pilot landed the aircraft in Salvador da Baía for a mechanical check-up. While there, Brazil’s federal police spotted the high volume of drugs.
Loureiro flew back to Sāo Paulo shortly afterwards. Both the Portuguese and Brazilian police are investigating the case.