On 20 October, Ms Michèle Coninsx, President of Eurojust, was in Bucharest to attend the 6th Pan-European High Level Conference on Asset Recovery Offices (AROs), co-organised by the European Commission, the Ministry of Justice of Romania and the newly established National Agency for Management of Seized Assets.
The AROs conference addressed developments in the area of asset recovery, Directive 2014/42/EU on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the European Union, best practice in the exchange of information, issues related to the management of seized assets, as well as measures of other international organisations and the existing confiscation systems in the Member States. Ms Coninsx moderated the session, A new legal framework for confiscation and asset recovery in the European Union.
Ms Coninsx, along with Ms Daniela Buruiană, National Member for Romania at Eurojust, then met H.E. Ms Raluca Alexandra Pruna, Minister of Justice. Ms Coninsx also met Mr Augustin Lazar, Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, and Mr Daniel Constantin Horodniceanu, Chief Prosecutor of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).
Ms Coninsx also participated in the European Judicial Network (EJN) Regional Meeting, which brought together EJN Contact Points from Romania, Greece, France, Slovakia, Malta and Italy and also from several third States (Republic of Moldova, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey, fYROM and Switzerland). The purpose of the meeting was to collectively explore the multiple facets of dealing with serious crime cases with cross-border dimension, particularly as they fall in the jurisdiction of both EJN and Eurojust, and to suggest concrete strategies towards a practical approach to achieving effective results in investigating and prosecuting these types of offences.
During the opening session of the meeting, Ms Coninsx, together with Mr Ola Löfgren, Secretary to the EJN, spoke about cooperation and coordination in the fight against serious cross-border crime. Ms Buruiană spoke about Eurojust’s competences, tasks, operational tools, and the role of the National Member in JITs.
National Asset Recovery Offices (AROs) help to deprive criminals of their profits. They identify assets that have been illegally acquired on their territories and facilitate the exchange of relevant information and best practice, both upon request and spontaneously at European level. The Member States are obliged, through Council Decision 2007/845/JHA of 6 December 2007, to set up or designate national AROs as national central contact points that facilitate, through enhanced cooperation, the fastest possible EU-wide tracing of assets derived from crime.
The European Judicial Network (EJN) is a network of national contact points for the facilitation of judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The EJN was created by Joint Action 98/428 JHA of 29 June 1998 to fulfil recommendation n°21 of the Action Plan to Combat Organised Crime adopted by the Council on 28 April 1997. The EJN was officially inaugurated in 25 September 1998.