In a headline-grabbing judgment on 27 May 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that German public prosecution offices may no longer issue European Arrest Warrants (EAW) since they were found not to have a sufficiently independent status. The ruling, which has immediate and far-reaching implications for the daily interaction between judicial authorities, immediately spurred Eurojust into action. A country-by-country overview has been established with concise information on (i) the position of public prosecutors, (ii) who ultimately takes the decision on EAWs, and (iii) whether national law affords public prosecutors a guarantee of independence from the executive branch.
150 EAWs replaced in Germany
Following the judgement of 27 May, German public prosecutors remain in charge of preparing the EAWs, but the German courts have the competence to issue them. Approximately 150 EAWs have already been replaced, starting with EAWs for which persons were actually held in custody only on the basis of the disputed EAW, and also EAWs for serious offences. The Netherlands is in the process of adapting its national law, indicating that a judge (‘rechter commissaris’) will become the competent judicial authority for issuing EAWs.
Practical snapshot of the position of public prosecutors in each Member State
Established in close cooperation with the National Desks at Eurojust and with representatives of the Member States through the EU Council of Ministers, the new compilation by Eurojust provides an important snapshot of key features of the national legal systems and each Member State’s assessment of the degree of independence of its public prosecutors. It is a practical tool that will help judicial authorities to quickly find the answers to important questions when cooperating on the basis of the EAW, and is available to practitioners via their National Desks at Eurojust.