Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA (FD) is an act of the EU concerning cooperation in criminal matters between national judicial authorities. It facilitates the recognition of final judicial decisions imposing non-custodial sentences across the Union, to allow the cross-border enforcement of probation measures or alternative sanctions (see the measures listed in Art. 4). As such, this instrument is part of the EU toolbox governing the cross-border transfer of offenders, because it enables a person to serve his/her sentence in another Member State. In fact, it is complementary to FD 2008/909/JHA on the transfer of prisoners and to FD 2009/829/JHA concerning the European Supervision Order.
The 10-year anniversary of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights becoming legally binding is due next December. This fast approaching anniversary gives us the opportunity to look back on the fundamental changes that the Charter has brought about in EU law enforcement. Most importantly it caused a change in the mindset of EU policy-makers to give more consideration to fundamental rights when making decisions. In my view, this change towards a more rights-based approach is yet to be fully translated into the daily work of national and local law enforcement actors. I am convinced that progress can be made by training national and local law enforcement to adequately respond to interconnected security and fundamental rights challenges. However, police officers now generally have limited access to non-core fundamental rights education. Therefore, in my post, I will explore why police training should promote the understanding of police officers that a rights-based approach does not limit policing work but underpins its legitimacy in society, decreases the surfacing democratic deficit in EU law enforcement and helps to build bridges with and among citizens and communities in Europe. In light of the turbulent events that occurred recently in Europe and that have fundamentally changed the EU’s security environment, understanding the need for and potential of better fundamental rights education of police officers seems more timely than ever.
By the end of 2020, a new Office will be operational in the European Union, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The EPPO will be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment the perpetrators of, and accomplices to, criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union. The establishment of the EPPO can be seen as the latest development in the proliferation of EU enforcement authorities (EEA’s). The establishment of this Office raises a large number of legal questions relating to the protection of fundamental rights. This blog post will focus on one of those legal questions, namely how evidence will be gathered and recognised across the European Union in cross-border cases. Under the current approach to cross-border evidence, the EPPO could choose to gather evidence in specific Member States based on their lower (minimum) standards, which could lead to a race to the bottom with regard to fundamental rights. This blog will outline three ways in which this risk could be addressed, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
For an overview of the EPPO’s structure and both material and procedural competence, please see the earlier post on the EPPO on the student-page by clicking here.
The “refugee crisis” has led to the establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) (the successor of Frontex) in 2016 and the transformation (still under negotiation) of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) into a European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA). The expansion of the operational tasks of the EBCG and the future EUAA in comparison to Frontex and EASO is clear. While Frontex and EASO have traditionally been characterized by their operational role and assistance to the frontline Member States on the ground, Europol under the recently adopted Regulation 2016/794 has also started to assist those national authorities subject to the extraordinary and sudden arrival of mixed migratory flows.
Since roughly 2002 the surrender of persons for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order takes place no longer on the basis of extradition treaties in the EU. It takes place on the basis of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States. One of the main advantages of surrender by means of a European arrest warrant (EAW) over traditional extradition proceedings as a means to transfer persons fleeing justice, is that it takes place between Member States’ judicial rather than political authorities. The EAW was put in place with the explicit purpose of depoliticising and accelerating the transfer of persons escaping the arm of the law from one EU Member State to another.
On 6 October 2016 the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) was officially launched at the border point of Kapitan Andreevo between Bulgaria and Turkey. As a result of the migratory crisis, the transformation of Frontex into a EBCG became a political priority for both the EU and the Member States. Frontex was established in 2004 to assist the countries of Europe to better cooperate in controlling their external borders. The new Regulation 2016/1624 is the third legislative revision of the mandate and competences of Frontex. This Regulation aims to both strengthen the position of the EBCG from the Member States, which have not always fully cooperated with Frontex, and also effectively and uniformly implement the EU rules and policies on border management.