Decision setting up Eurojust
Decision 2002/187/JHA — setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DECISION?
It sets up Eurojust, an EU body whose role is to stimulate, improve and support coordination between the competent authorities of the EU countries with regard to judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
The decision has been amended twice:
- Decision 2003/659/JHA aimed to align Eurojust with the budgetary and financial rules applicable to EU bodies and agencies; and
- Decision 2009/426/JHA aimedto equip Eurojust with the means to improve the fight against serious crime.
In 2018, Regulation (EU) 2018/1727 was adopted (see Eurojust (reform) summary). It repeals and replaces Decision 2002/187/JHA with effect from 12 December 2019.
Composition, competencies and tasks of Eurojust
This decision establishes Eurojust as an EU body with legal personality.
Each EU country sends a national member to Eurojust headquarters in the Hague: a prosecutor, judge or police officer (the latter must have competencies equivalent to the judge’s or the prosecutor’s). These national members are to be assisted by one person or more. They are all subject to the national law of the country that appointed them.
Amending Decision 2009/426/JHA sets the term of office at a minimum of 4 years which may be renewed. The EU country decides on the nature of the judicial powers given to its national member. However, national members must haveat least certain ordinary powers, as well as other powers to be exercised in agreement with the competent national authority or in urgent cases, as defined in the decision.
Regarding investigations and prosecutions (concerning at least 2 EU countries) in relation to serious crime, Eurojust has competence for:
- promoting coordination between the competent authorities of the relevant EU countries;
- facilitating the carrying out of requests and decisions relating to judicial cooperation.
Eurojust’s competence covers the types of crime and offences for which the European Police Office (Europol) has competence at all times.
Amending Decision 2009/426/JHA introduces the requirement to set up an On-Call Coordination system comprising one representative from each EU country. This representative may be the national member, his deputy or an assistant entitled to replace the national member, who is available on a 24-hour/7-day basis, so that Eurojust may fulfil its tasks at all times.
Eurojust may fulfil its tasks through one or more of the national members or as a College. Eurojust may ask the EU countries concerned to consider among others:
Amending Decision 2009/426/JHA introduced the right for Eurojust’s College to issue non-binding opinions in cases where:
- 2 or more national members are unable to resolve conflicts of jurisdiction;
- competent authorities report recurrent refusals for, or other difficulties relating to, judicial cooperation.
The European Commission, which is fully associated with the work of Eurojust, jointly agrees upon the necessary practical arrangements with Eurojust.
Under amending Decision 2009/426/JHA, each EU country must:
This decision includes rules on Eurojust’s organisation and operation, such as the secretariat, the appointment and the length of term of office of the Administrative Director, the status of staff and language arrangements.
To meet its objectives, Eurojust processes personal data. To this end, it applies the principles of the Council of Europe Convention of 28 January 1981 for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data.
Eurojust may only process personal data on persons who are:
- the subject of a criminal investigation or prosecution in respect of an offence for which Eurojust has competence;
- victims and witnesses in such investigations or prosecutions.
The types of data that can be processed include the person’s identity (full name, date and place of birth, nationality, contact details, profession, social security numbers and identification documents) and the nature of the alleged offences (criminal category, date and place of the offence, and progress of the investigation). Amending Decision 2009/426/JHA added DNA profiles, photographs and fingerprints to the list of data types covered.
Decision 2009/426/JHA introduced an amendment to ensure that personal data are accessible only to national members and their deputies and assistants, to persons participating in Eurojust national coordination systems who are connected to Eurojust’s case management system, as well as to authorised Eurojust staff. All involved are under an obligation of confidentiality which continues to apply after the termination of their activities with Eurojust.
Within Eurojust, one member of staff is specially appointed to be responsible for data protection with the task of ensuring that the processing is lawful and that a written record of the transmission and receipt of data is kept.
Relations with other bodies
To carry out its tasks, Eurojust maintains close working relations with the European Judicial Network. Amending Decision 2009/426/JHA extended these relations to cover Europol, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Border and Coast Guard and the EU’s Intelligence Centre. With the approval of the Council, Eurojust may conclude agreements to exchange information with non-EU countries, international bodies and the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), as well as coordinate judicial cooperation with non-EU countries.
The Council and the European Parliament are kept informed of Eurojust’s activities and the state of play regarding crime in the EU. In its annual report to the Council, Eurojust may make proposals for the improvement of judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
FROM WHEN DOES THE DECISION APPLY?
Decision 2002/187/JHA has applied since 6 March 2002.
Amending Decision 2003/659/JHA has applied since 1 October 2003.
Amending Decision 2009/426/JHA has applied since 4 June 2009.
For more information, see:
Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime (OJ L 63, 6.3.2002, pp. 1-13)
Successive amendments to Decision 2002/187/JHA have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Regulation (EU) 2018/1727 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), and replacing and repealing Council Decision 2002/187/JHA (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, pp. 138-183)
last update 17.04.2019