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Consultative Forum discusses crime areas in focus and cooperation with third States

08/06/2016

On 3 June, Mr Herman Bolhaar, Chair of the Board of Prosecutors General of the Netherlands, and Mr Josef Szabó, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Slovak Republic, jointly convened the 11th meeting of the Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General and Directors of Public Prosecutions of the Member States of the European Union. The meeting was hosted by Eurojust in The Hague, and the President of Eurojust, Ms Michèle Coninsx, welcomed the Consultative Forum members.

The meeting gathered high-level representatives of national prosecution authorities as well as representatives from the EU institutions and Justice and Home Affairs agencies to discuss the latest developments in cybercrime, terrorism and illegal immigrant smuggling, as well as cooperation with key third States in the fight against serious and organised crime.

Fighting cybercrime and European Judicial Cybercrime Network
Consultative Forum members were informed of the outcome of the strategic seminar, Keys to Cyberspace, organised by the Netherlands EU Council Presidency and Eurojust the day before on 2 June. In this context, the Consultative Forum discussed national challenges, practices and initiatives in fighting cybercrime, and welcomed the initiative of the Netherlands EU Council Presidency aiming at establishing the European Judicial Cybercrime Network as a way to foster contacts among cybercrime judicial practitioners in the EU Member States and increase the efficiency of investigations and prosecutions of cybercrime cases.

Judicial response to terrorism and illegal immigrant smuggling
Representatives from concerned Member States shared their experience regarding reinforcing the judicial response to the terrorist threats and recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium. Insight was also provided regarding the challenges faced and lessons learned in investigating and prosecuting illegal immigrant smuggling cases was also provided. The need to further strengthen and streamline international judicial cooperation through underlying practices and legislation,  to further mutual recognition and trust, was underlined.

Ms Coninsx, shared with the Consultative Forum participants the recent case increase and work of Eurojust in the field of terrorism and illegal immigrant smuggling.

Cooperation with key third States in tackling serious crime
The European Commission gave a presentation on integrative internal security governance, focusing on the key aspects of this approach and the role to be played by the Member States.

Eurojust provided insight into its ongoing activities in the field of external relations, highlighting the added value of cooperation agreements, the liaison magistrates posted at Eurojust its contact point network in third States facilitating judicial cooperation.

Consultative Forum members exchanged views on the challenges encountered in terms of legal and practical obstacles and possible ways to enhance cooperation with judicial authorities from third States with regard to execution of mutual legal assistance requests, information exchange and evidence gathering.

Open debate by Consultative Forum members
On initiative of some Consultative Forum members, an exchange of views took place on the following topics: implementation and impact of the European Investigation Order, the outcome of the EU-US JHA Ministerial Meeting and the advancement of EU-US relations regarding cooperation in criminal matters, the state of play of legislative developments regarding the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the development of Eurojust’s centres of expertise.

Conclusions of the meeting
The conclusions of the Consultative Forum meeting were drawn up by Mr Herman Bolhaar, Chair of the Board of Prosecutors General of the Netherlands, and Mr Peter Šufliarsky, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Slovak Republic, for endorsement of the forum and submission to EU institutions.

The conclusions will be published on the Eurojust website, where you can read more about the Consultative Forum.

Next activities
Representatives from Slovakia and Malta informed on the plans regarding their EU Council Presidencies for the second semester in 2016 and the first semester of 2017, respectively.