Eurojust legal framework

Legal basis

The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) operates on the basis of Article 85 of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Eurojust Regulation, which became applicable on 12 December 2019. The Regulation determines Eurojust’s mandate, governance structure, data protection regime and the framework for establishing agreements with non-EU countries.

In addition, Eurojust has adopted an internal legal framework including a financial regulation, internal procedures, the implementation of data protection rules and the Eurojust seat decision, which establishes where the Agency shall be located, and access to documents.

Besides this legal framework, the following tabs will also provide links to the full versions of Eurojust’s agreements with third States as well as international and EU partners.

Eurojust Regulation

EU agencies are distinct bodies from the EU institutions and separate legal entities set up to perform specific tasks under EU law.

Eurojust was created in 2002 as the EU Judicial Cooperation Unit operating on the basis of Council Decision 2002/187/JHA.

The Eurojust Regulation (Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, replacing and repealing Council Decision 2002/187/JHA) was adopted on 6 November 2018 and became applicable on 12 December 2019.

The Regulation established Eurojust as the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) and became directly applicable on 12 December in the Member States, without a need for national transposing acts.

The new legal basis introduces a number of changes to further improve Eurojust’s role in serving justice across borders for a safer Europe:

  • enhanced operational capabilities and increased information exchange between Eurojust and Member States;

  • a new governance structure:

    • The College of Eurojust, consisting of National Members from EU Member States and one Commission representative when the College exercises its management functions, is, among others, responsible for adopting the budget, annual and multi-annual programming and the Annual Report, electing the President and Vice-Presidents and appointing the Administrative Director;

    • an Executive Board has been established to assist the College, consisting of Eurojust’s President, the two Vice-Presidents, a representative of the European Commission and two other College Members designated on a two-year rotation system. The Administrative Director attends the meetings of the Executive Board without the right to vote. The Executive Board is responsible for taking certain administrative decisions (e.g. adopting and implementing rules of the Staff Regulations, financial rules, anti-fraud strategy), reviewing certain administrative documents before they are submitted to the College and establishing or modifying internal administrative structures;

  • a new data protection regime, adapted to the revised EU legal framework on data protection: application of both Regulation 2018/1725 (applicable to all EU institutions, agencies, bodies) to the processing of administrative personal data, with a new chapter on operational personal data as ‘lex generalis’ and the Eurojust Regulation as ‘lex specialis’ with regard to the processing of operational personal data. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) became responsible for the external supervision of Eurojust’s compliance with both Regulations;

  • alignment of Eurojust’s external relations with the principles introduced in this field by the Treaty of Lisbon; as a consequence, Eurojust no longer has the ability to negotiate and conclude cooperation agreements. A four-year strategy for further developing Eurojust’s international reach is in consultation with the European Commission. It includes a list of third States and international organisations with which Eurojust has identified an operational need for cooperation. As a result of the special protocols applicable to Ireland, Denmark and the United Kingdom, each of these States has a different legal position:

    • Ireland has opted in to the Eurojust Regulation and thus remains a full Eurojust member;

    • Denmark and Eurojust signed an Agreement on Criminal Justice Cooperation in October 2019, and Denmark now has a Representative to Eurojust with full participation in operational work;

    • in the summer of 2019, the United Kingdom opted in to the new Eurojust Regulation. As of 1 February 2020, the status of the UK at Eurojust is in line with the Withdrawal Agreement;

  • a strengthened role of the European and national Parliaments in the democratic oversight of Eurojust’s activities; and

  • a new relationship between Eurojust and the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) based on mutual cooperation within their respective mandates and competences, and the development of operational and management links.

Internal legal framework

The internal legal framework of Eurojust is undergoing revision due to the changes brought by the Eurojust regulation. The list of documents below will be updated as the new rules are adopted.

Financial Regulation

College Decision 2019-09 on the Financial Regulation applicable to Eurojust (17 September 2019) lays down the essential financial rules for Eurojust.

Eurojust Seat Decision

Decision taken by common agreement between the representatives of the Member States, meeting at Head of State or Government level, on 13 December 2003 on the location of the seats of certain offices and agencies of the European Union.

For Eurojust Seat Decision, see Article 1 (c).

Data Protection Rules

The Rules of procedure on the processing and protection of personal data at Eurojust, adopted by the College on 20 December 2019, govern the processing and protection of personal data at Eurojust to implement the data protection provisions of the Eurojust Regulation and Regulation (EC) No 2018/1725.

Rules of Procedure

The Rules of procedure include rules for the College and Executive Board, including voting procedures, the election of the President and Vice-Presidents of the College, the functions they may exercise and under which conditions they can be dismissed. The Rules of Procedure also establish the rules for declarations of interest, conflicts of interest and duty of information. The current Rules of Procedure of Eurojust were adopted by the College of Eurojust on 20 December 2019, following the approval of the Council on 19 December 2019 (Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/2250 of 19 December 2019). They were amended by the College on 24 July 2020 (following Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/1114 of 23 July 2020).

Access to Documents

The purpose of the Decision to adopt rules regarding Public Access to Eurojust Documents as adopted by the College of Eurojust on 13 July 2004 is to define the principles, conditions and limits governing the right of access to Eurojust documents and establishes practical rules ensuring the easiest possible exercise of this right.

Decision concerning investigations conducted by OLAF

Decision on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office in accordance with Article 38(4) of the Eurojust Decision (OLAF Decision) as adopted by the College of Eurojust on 13 July 2004.

Lisbon Treaty Article 85

Article 85 in Chapter 4 of the Treaty of Lisbon (ex Article 31 TEU) contains the provisions concerning judicial cooperation in criminal matters:

  1. Eurojust's mission shall be to support and strengthen coordination and cooperation between national investigating and prosecuting authorities in relation to serious crime affecting two or more Member States or requiring a prosecution on common bases, on the basis of operations conducted and information supplied by the Member States' authorities and by Europol.

    In this context, the European Parliament and the Council, by means of regulations adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall determine Eurojust's structure, operation, field of action and tasks. These tasks may include:

    1. (a) the initiation of criminal investigations, as well as proposing the initiation of prosecutions conducted by competent national authorities, particularly those relating to offences against the financial interests of the Union;
    2. (b) the coordination of investigations and prosecutions referred to in point (a);
    3. (c) the strengthening of judicial cooperation, including by resolution of conflicts of jurisdiction and by close cooperation with the European Judicial Network.

    These regulations shall also determine arrangements for involving the European Parliament and national Parliaments in the evaluation of Eurojust's activities.

  2. 2. In the prosecutions referred to in paragraph 1, and without prejudice to Article 86, formal acts of judicial procedure shall be carried out by the competent national officials.

Agreements

EU partners

Cooperation agreements with third States

In addition to the conclusion of an agreement, the United States of America, Norway, Switzerland, Ukraine, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Georgia have each seconded a liaison prosecutor to Eurojust.

Organisations