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Background

Mission and tasks

Eurojust stimulates and improves the coordination of investigations and prosecutions between the competent authorities in the Member States and improves the cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States, in particular by facilitating the execution of international mutual legal assistance and the implementation of extradition requests. Eurojust supports in any way possible the competent authorities of the Member States to render their investigations and prosecutions more effective when dealing with cross-border crime.

At the request of a Member State, Eurojust may assist investigations and prosecutions concerning that particular Member State and a non-Member State if a cooperation agreement has been concluded or if an essential interest in providing such assistance is demonstrated.

Eurojust's competence covers the same types of crime and offences for which Europol has competence, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, counterfeiting, money laundering, computer crime, crime against property or public goods including fraud and corruption, criminal offences affecting the European Community's financial interests, environmental crime and participation in a criminal organisation. For other types of offences, Eurojust may assist in investigations and prosecutions at the request of a Member State.

Eurojust may ask the competent authorities of the Member States concerned to:

  • investigate or prosecute specific acts;
  • coordinate with one another;
  • accept that one country is better placed to prosecute than another; 
  • set up a Joint Investigation Team; or
  • provide Eurojust with information necessary to carry out its tasks.

Furthermore, Eurojust:

  • shall ensure that the competent authorities inform each other of investigations and prosecutions of which they have been informed;
  • shall assist the competent authorities in ensuring the best possible coordination of investigations and prosecutions;
  • shall give assistance to improve cooperation between the competent national authorities, in particular based on Europol's analyses;
  • shall cooperate and consult with the European Judicial Network (EJN), and make use of and contribute to the improvement of its documentary database;
  • may, in accordance with its objectives, try to improve cooperation and coordination between the competent authorities, and forward requests for judicial assistance when they: (i) are made by the competent authority of a Member State, (ii) concern an investigation or prosecution conducted by that authority in a specific case, and (iii) necessitate its intervention with a view to coordinated action;
  • may assist Europol, particularly with opinions based on analyses carried out by Europol; and
  • may supply logistical support, e.g. assistance in translation, interpretation and the organisation of coordination meetings.
Partnerships

In order to carry out its tasks, Eurojust maintains privileged relationships with the EJN, Europol, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), and Liaison Magistrates. It is also able, through the Council, to conclude cooperation agreements with non-Member States and international organisations or bodies for the exchange of information or the secondment of officers.

Contact points worldwide

Eurojust has established contact points in 23 non-Member States: Albania, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Egypt, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Norway, Russian Federation, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA. Korea is the most recent addition.

Revised Council Decision

In December 2008, Ministers of Member States at the Justice and Home Affairs Council adopted a revised Council Decision on the strengthening of Eurojust. The aim of the Decision is to develop Eurojust’s potential to help fight transnational organised crime. Measures include increasing the interchange of information about serious cross-border cases, and making Eurojust available to national authorities on a 24/7 basis. Where necessary, transposition of the revised Decision into Member State law was to take place by 4 June 2011.