The Hague, 06 May 2008
Today, the sixth Eurojust Annual Report was presented to the public informing them of Eurojust’s activities in 2007.
“The year 2007 was a significant turning point in the development of Eurojust.”
During 2007 Eurojust made steady progress in its operational work, within the organisation, in its relations with national authorities and third States, and in enhancing co-operation with other EU bodies and agencies. In 2007 Eurojust also celebrated its fifth anniversary.
A milestone was reached when the number of cases referred to Eurojust exceeded 1000 in 2007, the actual number being 1085 cases, an increase of 41% since 2006. This means that judicial authorities throughout the EU are recognising the added value of Eurojust in the fight against serious cross-border crime. Eurojust registered a total of 49 different types of criminal activities, with “drug trafficking” and “crime against property or public goods including fraud” being the most frequently referred to Eurojust.
Eurojust continued to improve its relations with European and international bodies, and to enhance co-operation between Member States and non-European countries. In 2007 the Eurojust – US co-operation agreement entered into force and formal negotiations with the Republic of Croatia were completed. A Letter of Understanding was signed between Eurojust and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). We noted a significant increase of the involvement of third States in Eurojust’s operational work.
Eurojust’s relationship with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) strengthened, evidenced by the first joint OLAF-Eurojust conference in March 2007. Initiatives in the area of Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) increased, meaning practitioners recognise JITs as a valuable co-operation measure for cross-border investigation. In addition, the number of cases dealt with by Eurojust involving Europol almost quadrupled. For the first time, Liaison Prosecutors stationed at Eurojust were able to report their own cases, with Norway reporting 27 cases.
In 2007 Eurojust successfully completed a pilot project on the secure communication between Eurojust and the Slovak Republic, which will be implemented for selected national authorities in all Member States in 2008. Eurojust’s technical infrastructure was also developed with a video conference facility that allowed the President and Vice-Presidents to participate in the G8 conference in April 2007. The video conference system will enhance Eurojust’s ability to co-ordinate at a European level and will be a valuable tool in co-ordination meetings in the future.
In order to provide stability to a growing organisation, search and planning for a new Eurojust headquarters remained a vital task. Due to an increase in staff, the capacity of the current premises was reached in late 2007. Use of satellite offices became necessary in 2008.
After five years of existence, it was time to assess the implementation of the legal instrument setting up Eurojust. The Council, in its Conclusions on the Eurojust Annual Report 2006, stressed the need for a mid-term assessment of the “effectiveness and unexploited potential of Eurojust”. During the Lisbon seminar three main areas of action were identified to better achieve this, related to the powers of National Members, improvement of the exchange of information between the National Members and their national authorities, and the fine-tuning of the relationship between Eurojust’s national correspondents and the contact points of the European Judicial Network (EJN).
Eurojust, facing new challenges to its role in the fight against cross-border crime, is furthering its capacity when dealing with serious and complex cases. Significant progress has been made in 2007, and will continue in 2008.
For the complete report in English, see our website:http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press_annual_report_2007.htm
The production of the Annual Report in all other (22) official languages of the European Union is ongoing. All versions will be published on our website in the near future.
Press Officer & Spokesperson