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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Simplifying the exchange of information between EU countries' police and customs

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Simplifying the exchange of information between EU countries' police and customs

 

SUMMARY OF:

Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA — exchange of information and intelligence between EU countries’ law enforcement authorities

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THIS FRAMEWORK DECISION?

It enables law enforcement authorities* of EU countries to share information and intelligence effectively when conducting criminal investigations or criminal intelligence operations.

KEY POINTS

Conditions for the sharing of information

  • EU countries are not allowed to apply stricter rules for information disclosure at international level than would normally apply internally, for example, by requiring judicial agreement.
  • EU countries should normally respond within 7 days to requests concerning offences eligible for a European arrest warrant* and where the information is accessible to the law enforcement agency. A response should be made within 8 hours where the request is urgent. In other cases, countries should respond within 14 days. If the time limits cannot be met, the EU country receiving the request is required to provide reasons for not being able to comply.
  • Information can also be provided spontaneously. In this case, only information necessary to detect, prevent and investigate the crime or criminal activity should be given.
  • Information may be exchanged via any existing channel and must be shared with Europol or Eurojust if it falls within their scope, and under normal data protection rules.

Limits to information sharing

Law enforcement authorities are not obliged to gather information in response to a request, or to obtain information through coercion. In addition:

  • Information cannot be used as evidence before the judicial authority without the consent of the country that provided it (this could be already indicated in the reply).
  • Information that has been obtained from a non-EU country can only be shared with the consent of that country.
  • A law enforcement authority may refuse to provide information if there is reason to think it would harm national security, an investigation, an operation, the safety of individuals, or is clearly disproportionate or irrelevant.
  • A law enforcement authority can also refuse to provide information where the request relates to an offence carrying a prison term of 1 year or less, or where a judicial authority is opposed.

FROM WHEN DOES THE FRAMEWORK DECISION APPLY?

The Framework Decision has applied since 30 December 2006. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 19 December 2008.

BACKGROUND

This Framework Decision replaces parts of the Schengen Agreement relating to the transmission of information (Article 39) and the spontaneous provision of information (Article 46).

On 1 December 2014, the United Kingdom notified the European Commission that it wished to participate in the Decision. This was confirmed by Commission Decision 2014/858/EU.

For more information, see:

* KEY TERMS

Law enforcement authority: national police, customs or other authority that is authorised to detect, prevent and investigate offences and to exercise authority and coercive force.

European arrest warrant: defined in Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA of 18 December 2006 on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union (OJ L 386, 29.12.2006, pp. 89-100)

Successive amendments to Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Decision 2014/858/EU of 1 December 2014 on the notification by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of its wish to participate in acts of the Union in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters adopted before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and which are not part of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 345, 1.12.2014, pp. 6-9).

last update 07.09.2016

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