Eurojust – the European Union`s Criminal Justice Cooperation Agency – was first created by decision of the Council 2002 / 187 / JAI (Eurojust decision). Its main mission is to facilitate and coordinate criminal investigations and to prosecute cross-border crime in EU member states (Member States). However, the effective prosecution of the most serious forms of cross-border crime cannot depend solely on judicial cooperation within the EU. Due to the nature of this type of offence, third countries must also be involved if they are to be investigated and prosecuted as a whole. This article describes how Eurojust, as an EU agency, can contribute to more effective judicial cooperation with non-member states, what types of assistance it can provide and on what legal basis assistance can be provided. It describes the state of development cooperation with third countries since the commissioning of Eurojust. This development must now continue within the framework of a new legal framework – the new Eurojust Regulation – the new Eurojust external relations regime, with a much greater role for the European Commission. In order for any request for mutual assistance or mutual recognition to be successfully implemented and where possible, it is essential to reach a high level of mutual understanding between the relevant national authorities on what is requested and how it should be provided. Because of the differences between legal systems and national legal traditions, such an understanding is not always easy to achieve. In such situations, Eurojust is able to offer high-level technical and expert support in the very short term. The national members of the countries concerned are able to meet in person and resolve quickly and effectively, in direct contact with national authorities, any possible questions or uncertainties, whether legal or factual (Level II meetings).
Any language barriers that could hinder the process and lead to delays due to translation requirements can be effectively overcome. Not only does the regulation strengthen Eurojust`s operational capacity – it strongly reaffirms it as an EU criminal justice cooperation agency – but it also changes the framework for cooperation with third countries. While existing cooperation agreements remain in force24, the new regime will apply to future forms of cooperation, particularly those involving the exchange of personal operational data with third countries. As explained above, the exchange of personal data is essential for advanced forms of cooperation, for example. B for real-time coordination and the use of liaison attorneys. Under the Regulation, forms of cooperation that involve the exchange of such data are only possible if an international agreement has been reached between the EU and the third country (or international organisation) offering sufficient guarantees in terms of the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and individual freedoms25.