WELCOME to the Q2 2019 edition of the Eurojust newsletter, a new quarterly platform keeping judicial practitioners and our other partners up to date with recent developments at Eurojust as well as our latest publications.

In this newsletter...

- A message from Ladislav Hamran
- Landmark ruling on the EAW
- Welcoming the Finnish Presidency 

- Key half-year statistics
- VAT carousel fraudsters arrested
- Heroin substitute operation dismantled
- Action against OCG selling contaminated fish 
- Crackdown on counterfeit olive oil trade
- Convictions in phishing scam 
- JITs and cybercrime
- What has been happening at Eurojust?
- Eurojust outreach
- Joint Note: Practical application of the EIO
- Eurojust Consolidated Annual Activity Report
- Joint Report: Challenges in combatting cybercrime
- What to watch out for in Q3

We must work together to strengthen the EU security chain 

The past three months have been busy at Eurojust. We registered close to 1 000 new cases, ranging from drug trafficking, cybercrime and terrorism to the illegal selling of contaminated fish and large-scale fraud with counterfeit olive oil.  
We have also closely followed and acted on the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice concerning the competence of German prosecutors in relation to the European Arrest Warrant, which had immediate operational consequences for 150 pending cases. We have also hosted a range of fruitful discussions, including Eurojust’s annual meeting on counter-terrorism, the EU Day Against Impunity and a meeting of National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams.
Our operational casework, strategic projects and events are all based on one guiding principle: we can only protect our fellow European citizens if we enable prosecutors across the EU to work together. Or, as Eurojust’s Vice President, Klaus Meyer-Cabri, stated at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg in June: 'Without cross-border cooperation between prosecutors, the EU security chain would be incomplete and therefore weak.'
At the same time, European judicial cooperation in criminal matters is under pressure. I am certain that many of the prosecutors reading this newsletter are experiencing a similar trend of high investments in law enforcement and cutbacks on justice in their own countries. All this does is create a judicial bottleneck: there is enough manpower to arrest suspects, but not enough to get them convicted. This is why Eurojust is actively seeking support to receive sufficient resources in the coming years. 
Investments will also be needed to strengthen Europe’s judicial digital infrastructure. At the NADAL network meeting in Tallinn in May, Eurojust presented its Digital Criminal Justice proposal in more detail. The aim is to establish a fast and secure infrastructure for the exchange of information and evidence between national prosecutors, Eurojust and other JHA agencies.
This newsletter not only dives deeper into many of these important issues, but also looks forward to other initiatives you can expect from us in the coming months. I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. 

Ladislav HAMRAN
President of Eurojust

Landmark ruling on the European Arrest Warrant: New Eurojust tool to map out the position of public prosecutors in each Member State

In a headline-grabbing judgement on 27 May 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that German public prosecution offices may no longer issue European Arrest Warrants (EAW) since they were found not to have a sufficiently independent status. The ruling, which has immediate and far-reaching implications for the daily interaction between judicial authorities, immediately spurred Eurojust into action. A country-by-country overview has been established with (i) concise information on the position of public prosecutors, (ii) who ultimately takes the decision on EAWs, and (iii) whether national law affords public prosecutors a guarantee of independence from the executive branch.

Read more here

Eurojust welcomes the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU

Find out more about Finland’s activity within Eurojust in this country profile. Watch our video featuring both the outgoing and the new National Member for Finland, and hear their views on why judicial cooperation matters and the role of Eurojust.

New: Eurojust casework statistics H1 2019

Reflecting the longer-term trend, our newly released casework figures for the first half of 2019 illustrate a substantial increase in Eurojust’s caseload. Specifically, H1 2019 saw a 15% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in new registered and ongoing cases, much of which originated from 'priority' crime areas such as fraud (+13% y-o-y), money laundering (+16%) and drug trafficking (+13%). Meanwhile, the number of joint investigation teams (JITs) supported by Eurojust also rose during the first six months of the year, growing by 31% compared with H1 2018.

A snapshot of Eurojust's half-year figures is presented below. 

Eurojust on the ground

Eurojust facilitates arrests of VAT carousel fraudsters
Austria, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain – 12 June 

Working as a central coordinator, Eurojust helped bring about a successful outcome to this complex case, which involved an organised crime group (OCG) operating across five States. Eurojust facilitated a joint action day for the involved authorities, which led to decisive action being taken against the OCG, including several arrests and the seizure of key assets and documents.

Eurojust helps stop trafficking of heroin substitute
France, Poland, Ukraine – 29 May 

Eurojust helped to align and hone parallel investigations targeted against a major European cross-border drug trafficking operation. Working closely with the involve national authorities, Eurojust organised a coordination meeting at its premises, and helped to set up, fund and facilitate a joint investigation team (JIT), as well as a controlled delivery and supporting coordination centre.
Read more about Eurojust’s role here

OCG selling contaminated fish brought down through joint action day
Romania, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Portugal – 15 May

A coordination meeting, held at Eurojust, provided the springboard for national authorities in six States to bring down an OCG involved in illegal, tax evasion and money laundering. A joint action day, which Eurojust facilitated, enabled simultaneous searches of properties across the involved countries, leading to multiple searches, seizures and arrests.

Read more about Eurojust’s role here

Eurojust coordinates crackdown on counterfeit olive oil trade
Italy, Germany – 14 May 

Eurojust aided Italian and German authorities in arresting 24 suspected OCG members trading adulterated olive oil. What seemed like an isolated small-scale counterfeit case proved to have an important transnational dimension. Eurojust was instrumental in helping police and judicial authorities from both countries identify the magnitude of the fraud, go beyond national borders and map out the responsible criminal transnational network. Eurojust also facilitated the transfer of proceedings, as well as the execution of multiple European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) and mutual legal assistance requests, and coordinated the joint action day that led to the pre-trial arrest of the main suspects.



JIT leads to multiple convictions in major phishing scam case 
Italy, Romania – April 2019

Working closely with national authorities as well as Europol, Eurojust helped to bring about convictions for 20 OCG perpetrators of a major cross-border phishing scam. For its part, Eurojust organised and hosted two coordination meetings as well as a coordination centre, and provided funding and support to enable a JIT involving Italian and Romanian practitioners.

 Read more about Eurojust’s role here.
In addition to the cases presented above, Eurojust has coordinated a number of additional major criminal investigations and prosecutions over the past few months. Please visit our website to explore Eurojust’s wider casework during Q2.

JITs and cybercrime

On 5-6 June, experts on JITs from national authorities and EU institutions met at Eurojust for the 15th annual meeting of the National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams to explore how to maximise the potential of JITs in tackling cross-border crime, particularly cybercrime. The two-day expert’s meeting showcased examples of successful investigations, which were solved in part due to the valuable assistance offered by JITs. Eurojust provided support to over 220 JITs covering different areas in the first six months of 2019.
In order to help judicial practitioners keep up with the cybercrime challenges, Eurojust issued a new joint report with Europol mapping out the current ones.
Read more about the meeting’s outcomes here and consult the report here.

What has been happening at Eurojust?

Joining forces to support the use of the EIO 

In June, Eurojust and the European Judicial Network (EJN) joined forces to publish ‘The Joint Note of Eurojust and the European Judicial Network on the practical application of the European Investigation Order’, to support the work of national authorities in dealing with European Investigation Orders (EIOs). The Joint Note addresses common issues and challenges in the application of the EIO Directive, and includes best practice and guidelines on when and how to use the EIO in all four stages of its life cycle. 

Read more here

Key decisions taken in setting up judicial counter-terrorism register at Eurojust – 20 June

At the annual Eurojust meeting on counter-terrorism, the national experts agreed on practical steps for the implementation of the register which will centralise judicial information on counter-terrorism proceedings from all EU Member States and will allow Eurojust to proactively support the national judicial authorities. The register, which is set to launch 1 September 2019, is an essential first step in creating tools that will lead to a fast, reliable and secure Digital Criminal Justice infrastructure.

Learn more about the meeting's outcomes here.

Spanish Justice Minister stresses importance of Eurojust’s coordinating role – 18 June 

During her visit to The Hague, the Spanish Minister of Justice, Ms Dolores Delgado García, expressed her strong support for Eurojust as a central hub for combatting cross-border crime in Europe, as well as its role in coordinating cooperation with Northern African countries via EuroMed. She also stated her support for the European judicial counter-terrorism register.
Find out more here.

Eurojust’s role in strengthening synergies with the judicial cooperation networks supported by the Council – 6 June

Eurojust hosts and supports the Secretariats of several networks of practitioners. ‘To avoid duplications, it is crucial to ensure synergies between Eurojust and the networks established in the area of judicial cooperation in criminal matters. This is an integral part of our mandate and we can see that synergies between Eurojust and the networks are already effective’, said Mr Meyer-Cabri during his participation at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 6 June 2019.

Read about Eurojust’s JHA participation here, and learn about the Council's conclusions here.

Building synergies with Italy's Anti-Mafia Commission 
– 4 June

A high-ranking delegation of the Italian Parliament met with Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust and Filippo Spiezia, Vice President to discuss ways to expand the current synergies between the Anti-Mafia Commission and Eurojust, and to promote Eurojust’s added value in the fight against mafia groups and other organised crime at national and EU levels.
Read more about the meeting here.

Eurojust hosts 4th EU Day against Impunity for Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes – 23 May 

Amid the recent rise in genocide and war crimes cases overseen by Eurojust, representatives from the Romanian EU Council Presidency, the European Commission and the Genocide Network came together in The Hague to exchange information on ongoing investigations and share expertise and best practice in combatting core international crimes. Eurojust, together with EU Member States, deal with these crimes as key priorities. With regard to Syria, for instance, France and Germany serve as an example by having set up a joint investigation team (JIT) for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the regime in this country. The JIT is financially and operationally supported by Eurojust, showing the strong effort made by the European Union to target impunity

Discover more about the event here.

Successful first meeting of Member State communication experts – 16-17 May

To promote understanding of Eurojust's work among judicial practitioners, and help national practitioners amplify their own profile, the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) at Eurojust invited communications experts from national prosecution authorities in the EU Member States to a two-day network meeting in The Hague.

One of the focal points of the meeting was increasing alignment between cross-border judicial communications activities across the Member States, for example, when communicating important operational results from a transnational case to the general public through press and social media outreach.
Over two days, communications directors, spokespersons and experts in internal communication to took part in workshops to get to know Eurojust and each other, and to share and compare communications strategies and tools. 

Support for Eurojust from visiting Swedish Home Minister – 14 May

Mr Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister for Home Affairs, expressed his support for Eurojust during a visit to the agency’s premises in May. The minister was introduced to Eurojust’s facilities and operational work, met with key Eurojust representatives, and explained how judicial cooperation yields tangible results at EU level.

Discover more here.

Talking cross-border strategy with the EU Justice Commissioner – 14 May

Ms Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, met with President Ladislav Hamran to discuss efforts to strengthen the fight against cross-border crime, as well as the role and funding requirements of Eurojust. The discussions also centred on the next steps needed to implement the Digital Criminal Justice initiative.
Read more here.

Two goodbyes, and a warm welcome

Eurojust bid farewell to two highly valued staff members during Q2. June saw the departure of the first Liaison Prosecutor for Switzerland, Maria Schnebli, after four years at Eurojust, as well as the National Member for Lithuania, Laima Čekelienė.

Meanwhile, Eurojust welcomed the new National Member for Latvia at Eurojust, Dagmāra Skudra, who replaces Gunars Bundzis following his retirement in April.

Read about Ms Skudra’s appointment and professional background here.

Enhancing judicial cooperation, with Germany's Parliamentary Secretary of State – 2 May 

During his visit to The Hague to meet with Eurojust's President and Vice President, Mr Christian Lange, Germany's Parliamentary Secretary of State for Justice and Consumer Protection, discussed Germany’s role in fighting cross-border crime. Mr Lange and Eurojust also shared ideas for enhancing judicial cooperation and promoting the use of Eurojust’s cooperation tools and instruments.

Read more about the discussions here.

French Minister and Senators introduced to Eurojust – 25 April

Mr Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust, and Mr Frédéric Baab, National Member for France at Eurojust, hosted a French delegation, which included Ms Amélie De Montchalin, the newly appointed French Minister for European Affairs. The visitors were introduced to Eurojust’s work and mandate, with discussions also centring on Eurojust’s relations with Europol and the future European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).

Discover more here.

European Judicial Cybercrime Network gathers at Eurojust – 5 April 

Judicial practitioners from across Europe gathered at Eurojust for the 6th plenary meeting of the European Judicial Cybercrime Network (EJCN). Key topics included the direct trans-border access to digital evidence and takedown of domains used for criminal purposes, as well as the investigation of Darknet criminality and the handling of virtual currencies in criminal procedures.

Read more about the outcomes here.

Eurojust outreach

Ladislav Hamran contributes to leading criminal law publication, eucrim – 7 June

The European Criminal Law Associations’ Forum (eucrim) featured a guest editorial by Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran, in which Mr Hamran stressed the importance of mutual recognition and trust in the fight against serious crime, and their role at the heart of Eurojust’s work.

Read the article in full here.

Stepping up the fight against doping – 27 May 

Representatives from Eurojust joined experts from anti-doping organisations and other EU agencies at a conference in Budapest to strengthen their cooperation in fighting doping and the trade of illegal doping substances. During highly productive discussions, the participants stressed the importance of international collaboration in stopping the supply and suppliers of doping substances.
Read all about the event here.

The late Giovanni Falcone honoured by Eurojust 
Palermo, Italy – 23 May 

Filippo Spiezia, Vice President of Eurojust and National Member for Italy at Eurojust, led the agency in commemorating the 27th anniversary of the assassination of the Italian judge Giovanni Falcone and his police bodyguards, in Palermo, Italy. Mr Spiezia's statement emphasized Mr Falcone’s sacrifice and his contribution to making Italy and Europe a safer place.

Read the statement in full here.

Common challenges in Combatting Cybercrime; Eurojust-Europol Joint Report – June 2019

The level of digitalisation in our societies is increasing every day and so, unfortunately, is cybercrime. This situation requires law enforcement and prosecution practitioners to constantly adapt their expertise, tools and practices to effectively and efficiently respond to this change. Europol and Eurojust have published a joint report identifying and categorising the current developments and common challenges in combating cybercrime.

Access the report here

Practical Application of the European Investigation Order – Joint Note of Eurojust and the European Judicial Network June 2019

Eurojust and the European Judicial Network (EJN) have published a Joint Note on the Practical Application of the EIO. The first edition of the Note is a compilation of information on the EIO and its application gathered by Eurojust and the EJN during meetings, documents and casework. It includes examples of the common issues and challenges encountered by national authorities when using the tools, as well as possible solutions and best practice.

Click here to access the note.

Eurojust Consolidated Annual Activity Report 2018

In June 2019, Eurojust published its consolidated annual activity report detailing the work of the previous year. The report includes an overview of Eurojust’s operational activity, including casework and support in facilitating judicial cooperation tools, as well as the agency’s policy work to promote European judicial cooperation, and overviews of key developments, such as the new Eurojust Regulation and EPPO Regulation.

Read the full report here

What to watch out for in Q3

With summer well and truly upon us, here are some of the key topics and events to keep an eye on over the weeks and months ahead.



  • Eurojust Open Day – 22 September 
  • Glacy Cybercrime Conference – 30 September
  • Eurojust Guidelines for deciding on competing EAWs  
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