The Eurojust Annual Report 2015 demonstrates again that Eurojust’s casework continues to grow each year. In 2015, Member States requested Eurojust’s assistance in 2 214 cases, representing an increase of 23 per cent compared to 2014. A remarkable upward trend could also be noted regarding the use of Eurojust’s coordination meetings and coordination centres. Eurojust supported 120 joint investigation teams (JITs) and provided financial support to 68 JITs. The ever increasing work of Eurojust to ensure judicial cooperation and coordination confirms that Eurojust is needed, recognised and valued.
In response to the priorities set out in the European Agendas on Security and on Migration and in view of the terrorist attacks and the unpreceded migration crisis, Eurojust can report a significant increase in terrorism, cybercrime and illegal immigrant smuggling cases in 2015. The appointment of Eurojust’s cybercrime expert to EC3, and intensified cooperation with third States, are important steps to ensure a coordinated EU justice response.
Application of mutual recognition instruments
In 2015, Eurojust focused on disrupting organised crime groups (OCGs) by improving the coordination of freezing, confiscation and asset recovery, and by outlining the challenges and a possible way forward through harmonisation of laws and practices. OCGs derive substantial profits from their criminal activities, and the proceeds of crime are laundered and re-injected into the legal economy. Depriving criminals of the proceeds of crime is consequently an effective measure to impact criminal structures.
On a strategic level, Eurojust observes the added value of network meetings of specialised prosecutors, such as the national correspondents for Eurojust for terrorism matters, and the contact points of the JITs Experts Network. The exchange of challenges and best practice, for example on evidence gathering and conflicts of jurisdiction, leads to tangible results: trust building, knowledge consolidation and solid convictions.
The President of Eurojust, Michèle Coninsx, commented:
Given the increase in cases registered at Eurojust, I am confident that Eurojust will continue to develop as a legal and judicial centre of expertise in EU criminal matters. Countering evolving crime phenomena and criminal structures requires a multi-disciplinary approach and strong partnerships between the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies, as well as enhanced cooperation with third States.
- The number of cases increased by 23 per cent, from 1 804 cases in 2014 to 2 214 in 2015. Third States were involved in 298 cases.
- Casework increased in: terrorism, cybercrime, illegal immigrant smuggling, THB, fraud, corruption and Mobile Organised Crime Groups.
- An increase in use of coordination tools: coordination meetings (39 per cent increase over 2014) and coordination centres.
- Eurojust supported 120 joint investigation teams (JITs), 46 of which were new, and provided financial support to 68 JITs.
- Eurojust seconded a judicial cybercrime expert to EC3.
- Eurojust supported the Hotspots, formed a thematic working group on illegal immigrant smuggling, and signed a Letter of Understanding with EUNAVFOR MED.
- Eurojust’s budget for 2015 was EUR 33 818 million. Budget implementation was 99.86 per cent.
In 2015, Eurojust also published a number of reports, including, e.g., the Terrorism Convictions Monitor, the third Foreign Terrorist Fighters report, and Prosecuting THB for the purpose of labour exploitation.
The Annual Report will be available in all official EU language versions later in the year.
Infographic: Eurojust fights serious organised cross-border crime