2018 expert meeting at Eurojust
On 19-20 September 2018, Eurojust organised a meeting on the European Investigation Order. Practitioners from the EU Member States as well as representatives from EU institutions and academia met at Eurojust in plenary sessions and workshops to discuss potential problems and challenges related to the functioning of the EIO. The meeting provided a forum for practitioners to identify several practical and legal issues in the application of the EIO, to exchange experience and best practice and to discuss how Eurojust and EJN can further support the national authorities.
Participants discussed inter alia the scope of the EIO, the competent authorities involved, the content, form and language of the EIO, the issuing and transmission of an EIO, the grounds for non-recognition, the possible recourse to another investigative measure, time limits, urgent requests, costs, the applicability (or not) of the speciality rule, the use of specific investigative measures and the use of EIOs vis-à-vis other co-existing legal instruments.
The Outcome report indicates that a vast majority of participants very much welcome the EIO regime and see it as a step forward in the area of cross-border evidence-gathering.
Participants acknowledged the need to interpret national law in light of EU law and particularly in line with the principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust, but also underlined the challenge of constantly searching for legally sound and practically feasible solutions between different national legal systems. Practitioners agreed on the importance of an overall pragmatic and flexible approach. Participants’ views diverged on some topics (e.g. rule of speciality, cost issues in the context of proportionality test, bugging of a car) but coincided on many other topics. Recommendations suggested relate inter alia to the scope of the EIO, the use of Forms A, B and C, the language regime and time limits.
With regard to the role of Eurojust, participants envisaged that the support and involvement of Eurojust in relation to EIOs will be at least the same, but probably higher, when compared to the MLA regime, as more consultations are foreseen in the EIO Directive. Whilst “direct contact” amongst judicial authorities is the core principle of the EIO DIR, participants strongly believed that Eurojust’s bridge-making role can facilitate communication between the judicial authorities involved in a bilateral case if one of the consultation procedures is triggered and that, moreover, in complex multilateral cases, Eurojust has a unique and important coordinating role.