Eurojust and Interpol establish "cooperative relations in order to improve the international response to serious crime"

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Eurojust, the EU agency dealing judicial cooperation in criminal matters, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Criminal Police Office, Interpol. The purpose of the MoU is to "establish, define, encourage and improve cooperation between the Parties in the fight against serious crime, particularly when it is organised."

The MoU contains no definition of "serious crime", although it does note that cooperation should take place in accordance with the respective legal frameworks of Eurojust and Interpol. [1]

Eurojust's remit covers those crimes for which Europol is competent (broadly speaking, organised crime and terrorism; the full list that can be found in the annex to Europol's legal basis) and Eurojust's legal basis also highlights computer crime; fraud, corruption or any criminal offence affecting the EU's financial interests; laundering of crime proceeds; environmental crime; and participation in a criminal organisation. Interpol's remit covers a similarly wide list of crimes. [2]

The Council has been invited to approve the Memorandum of Understanding, "subject to approval by Coreper," the Committee of Member States' Permanent Representatives. [3]

Interpol already has cooperation agreements of varying types with EU agencies - for example Europol, Frontex, and the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). In 2010 the Council called for closer cooperation between Interpol and other EU agencies such as the European Police College (CEPOL), the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). [4]

Interpol representatives also meet regularly with Member States' delegations in Council working parties such as COSI, the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security.

Under the provisions of the Memorandum, both parties are obliged to establish contact points responsible for coordinating cooperation, which "shall consult each other on a regular basis" in particular in relation to "mutual consultation, exchange of general information and coordination"; the "exchange of strategic and technical information"; and "training and exchange of best practices".

The MoU permits the two parties to "inform each other about developments in fields and projects of mutual interest and exchange observations concerning such activities," and says that they "shall coordinate their activities in multilateral for a, such as seminars and conferences".

Article 4 covers the exchange of "strategic and technical information". Strategic information includes:

  • Information on "trends and challenges faced relating to serious crime";
  • Information resulting from "analysis of serious crime and new methods, including trends followed in committing serious crimes"; and
  • Observations and general findings resulting from EUROJUST's activities that support the detection or prevention of serious crime."

    There is no corresponding provision that obliges exchanging "observations and general findings" resulting from Interpol's activities.

    Technical information as covered by Article 4 includes:

  • Means of strengthening judicial and law enforcement structures and cooperation in the fields covered by this Memorandum of Understanding, including a more structured exchange of technical information and, if considered to be useful, setting up combined analysis; and
  • Training methods for concerned officials from both Parties.

    Neither operational nor personal data can be exchanged, something clarified in a letter from Michèle Coninsx, Eurojust's president, seeking approval from the Irish EU presidency for the MoU. Coninsx refers to an opinion of the Joint Supervisory Body of Eurojust, which says that:

    "Article 4(2) of the draft Memorandum of Understanding implies the possibility for Eurojust and Interpol to exchange strategic information other than what is enumerated in this Article. It should in any case be stressed that any kind of information exchanged should in any cases [sic] comply with Article 4(4) of this Memorandum, meaning that in no case operational data or personal data could be part of such strategic information exchanged."

    Coninsx says that "Eurojust and INTERPOL have taken note of this observation… and will take it into account" when applying the Memorandum. Aside from this one comment, the Eurojust Joint Supervisory Board said it was "generally satisfied" with the content of the Memorandum.

    The MoU goes on to say that the parties "may prepare and implement joint training activities, including contributions to the development of courses, seminars, conferences, study visits, training tools and materials in areas of common interest," the goal of which is to "encourage and improve cross-border cooperation in the fight against serious crime, particularly when it is organised."

    The two organisations are also obliged to "combine their efforts to provide expertise and support to Joint Investigation Teams in accordance with their respective legal frameworks".
    Further reading

  • "10 years of Eurojust - operational achievements and future challenges", May 2013
  • EU: Millions of euros for new police databases in West Africa, Statewatch News Online, March 2013
  • EU institutions want Justice and Home Affairs agencies to "fly the EU flag" abroad, Statewatch News Online, February 2013

    [1] Approval by the Council of the EU of the draft Memorandum of Understanding between Eurojust and INTERPOL, 11602/13, 27 June 2013
    [2] Interpol, Crime areas
    [3] General Secretariat of the Council, Approval by the Council of the EU of the draft Memorandum of Understanding between Eurojust and INTERPOL - Approval by the Council, 11601/13, 27 June 2013
    [4] Council conclusions concerning an Action Plan to implement the concerted strategy to combat cybercrime, 26 April 2010

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