Mr Elvinas Jankevičius, Minister of Justice of Lithuania, met today with Eurojust’s President, Mr Ladislav Hamran, and Ms Margarita Šniutytė-Daugėlienė, National Member for Lithuania at Eurojust.
The President discussed how Eurojust has remained fully operational during COVID times through the use of digital solutions, including virtual coordination meetings. He also raised the importance of the further digitalisation of justice in the EU and pointed to recent initiatives taken by the Commission in this respect. The President also expressed Eurojust’s gratitude for Member States’ clear recognition of the importance of Eurojust’s mission in the ongoing negotiations for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. He stressed the need for appropriate funding in coming years to support expected continued growth in national judicial authorities’ operational needs to fight cross-border crime.
The Minister raised the issue of extradition of EU citizens to third countries and said: "The European Union must ensure the proper protection of its citizens against whom extradition requests have been made by third countries. This is especially relevant when such actions have a political aspect or if prosecution was not initiated on legitimate grounds. Up to now, a clear and consistent framework for cooperation between EU members in this area has not been established and there is an urgent need to create a legal mechanism for such synergies."
Mr Hamran said: "Eurojust has unique expertise in the field of extradition. This is why earlier this year, the Justice and Home Affairs Council invited Eurojust and the European Judicial Network to analyse how cases of requests for the extradition of EU citizens by third States are handled in practice, in view of possible EU guidance to be developed by the Commission. We are keen to share our findings and welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate."
Ms Šniutytė-Daugėlienė further introduced the Minister to Eurojust’s judicial cooperation tools, such as coordination meetings, coordination centres and joint investigation teams, and pointed to recent operational successes, including the dismantling of a criminal network operating in Lithuania, the UK and Ireland responsible for drug trafficking, money laundering and trafficking in human beings.
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