The pandemic continued to be an opportunity for OCGs, which took advantage of increased online activity, the demand for specific items linked to hygiene rules and the release of state subsidies.
Eurojust remained fully operational despite the restrictions applied during the pandemic and has been actively providing its standard services to practitioners throughout the EU and beyond. The adoption of new, secure online conferencing tools and setting up Eurojust’s premises to accommodate hybrid meetings enabled the agency to connect practitioners and support a higher than ever number of 10 105 cases in 2021.
3.1. Monitoring the changing effect of COVID-related restrictions
Throughout 2021, Eurojust and the European Judicial Network continued collecting information on the impact of national measures against COVID-19 on judicial cooperation between the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. The compiled information and the analysis of the main practical and legal issues arising was regularly issued to national authorities as a Council limited distribution document.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters
Published: May 2021Read the report
From the early stages of the pandemic, Eurojust’s casework showed that practitioners in the Member States were facing various difficulties in dealing with cases involving judicial cooperation in criminal matters. These issues were repercussions of the measures implemented by the Member States to combat the spread of COVID-19 and affected all instruments commonly applied in the field of judicial cooperation. The unprecedented social changes triggered by the pandemic created new opportunities for OCGs to gain illicit profit.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters – Analysis of Eurojust’s Casework, a report published in May 2021, set out to identify which difficulties resulted from the pandemic in the application of the most commonly used instruments of judicial cooperation, and which were the most frequently committed crimes that were directly linked to the pandemic.
The report complements the Eurojust-EJN compilation on the impact of COVID-19 and describes what role Eurojust can play to resolve issues that arise in the work of prosecutors and judges. It also provides summaries of best practices in case extraordinary measures need to be applied again.