Judicial cooperation with key third States in cases of serious, organised crime can be a vital precondition for successful investigations and prosecutions, particularly in terrorism and illegal immigration cases. However, cross-border cases involving Member States and third countries can present challenges, such as differences in national legislation, different standards for the protection of personal data, language barriers, and differences in local legal and cultural practices, creating a need for effective procedures and tools for judicial cooperation.
In its role as a facilitator of cross-border judicial cooperation, Eurojust plays an important role in promoting effective working relationships between the national authorities of Member States and third countries. For example, Eurojust can coordinate the execution of requests for judicial cooperation issued by such requests require execution in at least two Member States as part of the same investigation. Such requests may also be transmitted to Eurojust by a competent national authority.
Eurojust relations with third countries
In addition to this coordinating role during cases, Eurojust maintains ongoing working relationships with third States around the world. According to the Eurojust Regulation, Eurojust may establish and maintain cooperation with authorities of third countries as well as international organisations. In consultation with the European Commission, Eurojust prepares a cooperation strategy every four years, which specifies the third countries and international organisations with which there is an operational need for cooperation.
Cooperation agreements are the most advanced form of cooperation possible for Eurojust with third States. They allow for a structured and safe exchange of information including personal data, which is vital to successful investigations and prosecutions of EU national authorities when third States are involved.
Such agreements facilitate a secure exchange of information, including personal data, and the secondment of Liaison Prosecutors to Eurojust or the posting of Eurojust liaison magistrates to a third State. To date, Eurojust has concluded cooperation agreements with 12 third States: Albania, North Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the USA. Six of these States have also seconded a Liaison Prosecutor to Eurojust. Eurojust may also designate contact points in third countries in agreement with the competent authorities concerned, in order to facilitate cooperation. Eurojust currently has contact points in more than 50 third countries.
Transfers of personal data
According to the Eurojust Regulation, Eurojust may transfer operational personal data to third countries under specific conditions which are indicated in Articles 56 to 59 of the Eurojust Regulation. These conditions make sure the data is transferred safely and appropriately.
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Disclaimer: Note that this infographic is for information only and is subject to change.
All agreements concluded so far by Eurojust with third States and organisations can be viewed and/or downloaded from the document library.