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Operational and strategic activities

About the EIO

How the EIO works

The functioning of the EIO presupposes two Member States: the issuing Member State and the executing Member State. The issuing Member State calls for evidence located in the executing Member State, which then collects the evidence on behalf of the issuing Member State. Apart from calls for already existing evidence-gathering, the request may include one or more of the following investigative measures in the requested Member State:

  • preservation of evidence gathered;
  • hearings of witnesses and suspects;
  • searches of houses and other premises;
  • checks of bank accounts and financial transactions;
  • interception of telecommunications; and
  • temporary transfer of persons in custody.

Life cycle of an EIO

Eurojust facilitates, advises and coordinates the Member States’ national authorities throughout all four phases of the life cycle of an EIO:

  • the issuing Member State’s judicial authority drafts the EIO, with the support of Eurojust, where needed, e.g. in regard to form and content;
  • the issuing Member State’s judicial authority transmits the EIO to the judicial authority of the executing Member State, with the support of Eurojust, where needed;
  • the executing Member State’s judicial authority recognises the EIO, with the support of Eurojust, where needed, e.g. by improving communication between the issuing and executing Member States’ judicial authorities; and
  • the executing Member State’s judicial authority executes the EIO, with the support of Eurojust, where needed, e.g. in overcoming legal and/or practical difficulties.

Advantages of the EIO

The EIO has a comparative advantage in enhancing cross-border investigations as it:

  • is a single comprehensive judicial cooperation instrument with a large scope;
  • sets strict deadlines to the executing Member States for the collection of the required evidence;
  • limits the reasons for refusing EIOs by the executing Member States;
  • introduces a plain standard form, thus reducing paperwork and bureaucracy; and
  • protects the fundamental rights of the defence in both the issuing and executing Member States.