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Eurojust press briefing, European Council Press Centre, Brussels, 03/12/2013

04/12/2013

On 3 December 2013, Eurojust gave a press briefing in the European Council’s Press Centre in Brussels to provide more insight into Eurojust’s activities and achievements in the fight against serious cross-border crime, including environmental crime and fraud.


Photos: © EU Council 2013


On 3 December 2013, Eurojust gave a press briefing in the European Council’s Press Centre in Brussels to provide more insight into Eurojust’s activities and achievements in the fight against serious cross-border crime, including environmental crime and fraud.

Eurojust’s press briefing included presentations on Eurojust and its work by Ms Michèle Coninsx, President of Eurojust and National Member for Belgium, Mr Francisco Jiménez-Villarejo, Elected Vice-President of Eurojust and National Member for Spain, Ms Laima Cekeliene, National Member for Lithuania, and Mr Henri Tillart, Assistant to the National Member for the Netherlands.

The key messages presented were:

a.   Eurojust is unique: There is nothing like Eurojust anywhere in the world; there is no South AmericaJust, no Africajust, no Asiajust, and, in that sense, the bird’s-eye view that Eurojust possesses in terms of speeding up executions of mutual legal assistance requests is a distinct added value for the European Union.

b.   A police operation without judicial coordination is like a storm in a teacup: If no confiscations of the proceeds of crime are made in parallel, the results of police operations are sterile. Eurojust looks at criminal cases and crime in its broadest sense, and uses its unique products to tackle cross-border criminality in the most effective way.

c.   Joint Investigations Teams are a fast-developing phenomenon: JITs accelerate mutual legal assistance by solving legal problems dynamically. The number of requests for JITs has rapidly increased. Eurojust has taken on a leading role in the setting up of JITs based on operational needs, and also supports their funding.

d.   Eurojust’s special relationship with the European Public Prosecutor: Eurojust is closely involved in the discussions on the draft regulation on the establishment of an EPPO presented on 17 July 2013 by the European Commission. Article 86 of the Lisbon Treaty makes clear provisions for the “special relationship” between Eurojust and the EPPO, stating that a European Public Prosecutor’s Office may be established from Eurojust.

e.   Excise fraud is one of the EU’s biggest problems: Every year, the Member States lose revenue from unpaid duties in the billions of euros. The illicit tobacco trade alone costs the European Union EUR 12.5 billion in lost revenue each year.

f.   Fraud cases feature predominantly in Eurojust’s casework: Since 1 January 2012, Eurojust has dealt with 99 VAT fraud cases and 66 cases of other types of fraud.

g.   Eurojust’s strategic seminars provide a platform for stakeholder knowledge-gathering: The two most recent seminars held in the Hague dealt with excise fraud and environmental crime, bringing forward the discussions on emerging types of crime. Gathering 28 countries together in a meeting provides a full overview of the phenomenon as well as the problems encountered in the investigations and prosecution.

h.   Manure fraud is risky business: The Netherlands, the largest producer of manure in Europe (71 billion kg per year), has been honing in on criminals committing forgery of documents and money laundering in the production and disposal of manure. The annual profit from illegal activities is estimated at EUR 9 million.

i.   Eurojust is close to the European citizen: Cases such as Lampedusa and returning Jihadists are part of Eurojust’s daily work.

For more information, for a pdf version of the presentations, or to make arrangements to conduct an interview with any of the speakers, please contact Ms Leen de Zutter, Press & PR Service, Eurojust.