Justice minister Charlie Flanagan has secured Government approval to participate in the EU Regulation for Criminal Justice Co-operation (known as Eurojust), subject to approval by the Oireachtas.
This 2018 EU Regulation, which replaces the existing 2002 Council Decision governing the operation of Eurojust, formally establishes Eurojust as the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Co-operation.
It will come into effect from 12 December this year. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions represents Ireland at Eurojust.
Minister Flanagan said “I am delighted to have secured the approval of my Government colleagues for our participation in this important Regulation.
“I will shortly bring Motions in each House of the Oireachtas to seek their approval as the next stage of the opt-in process. Ireland has been a member of Eurojust since its foundation in 2002 and we play an active part in its operational activities.
“Failure to opt into this new Regulation would have meant that Ireland could no longer be a member of Eurojust. This would have been detrimental to our ability to investigate criminal activity with an international dimension.”
Minister Flanagan said that Eurojust has an important role in tackling cross-border crime.
“Eurojust stimulates and improves the co-ordination of investigations and prosecutions and the co-operation between the competent authorities in the Member States, particularly by facilitating the execution of international mutual legal assistance requests and the implementation of extradition requests.
“It supports the Member States to render their investigations and prosecutions more effective when dealing with cross-border crime.
“Given the increasingly transnational nature of crime, Eurojust’s role has never been more essential. Our membership of Eurojust has been an invaluable resource to An Garda Síochána and the DPP in the context of fighting international criminal activity and in the most serious of offences.”
Eurojust competence covers the same types of crimes and offences for which Europol has competence, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, counterfeiting, money laundering, computer crime, crime against property or public goods including fraud and corruption, criminal offences affecting the European Community's financial interests, environmental crime and participation in a criminal organisation.
Subject to Oireachtas approval, the European Commission will be notified of our intention to participate in the Regulation.