The agreement between Switzerland and Eurojust, the EU's judicial cooperation agency, serves to bolster cooperation in the fight against serious forms of international crime. Eurojust works with national investigation and enforcement authorities in each member state to prosecute serious cross-border and organised crime. It has primarily coordinative tasks.
National criminal justice authorities increasingly rely on intergovernmental cooperation to combat cross-border crime and organised crime. Eurojust plays a key role in this area. The Judicial Cooperation Unit of Eurojust was hence established in 2002 to strengthen cross-border cooperation between national judicial authorities in the fight against serious crime.
Eurojust's main task is to coordinate activities, acting as a link and facilitator to ensure optimal cooperation between national criminal justice authorities. It fosters the exchange of information, facilitates international mutual legal assistance and the execution of extradition requests, organises coordination meetings to define, among other things, joint investigation strategies and assists in the resolution of jurisdictional issues. This enables more efficient prosecution and punishment of criminal offences, making Eurojust an increasingly important agency.
Eurojust, based in The Hague (Netherlands), does not itself conduct investigations or prosecute crimes. Instead of functioning as a European public prosecutor, it supports and coordinates among national authorities at their request. Eurojust's remit covers in particular drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants, terrorism and its financing, counterfeiting and money laundering, fraud, environmental crime and cybercrime.
Eurojust is the judicial counterpart of the European Police Office Europol. Switzerland cooperates with Europol on the basis of a cooperation agreement concluded in 2004. The agreement between Switzerland and Eurojust complements and expands on the agreement with Europol on international cooperation in the fight against cross-border crime.
Cooperation between Switzerland and Eurojust
In practice, Switzerland had already established a working relationship with Eurojust on a case-by-case basis prior to the conclusion of the agreement. This collaboration was legally formalised in 2008 through the bilateral agreement, which delineated the extent of cooperation between the two parties and outlined the specific types of information that could be exchanged, as well as the methods for doing so. The agreement also set stringent data protection standards.
Within the European Union's institutional architecture, Eurojust serves as a key component of judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Each EU member state contributes to Eurojust by seconding a national member, who is typically a prosecutor or judge. The governing body of Eurojust is its College, which is composed of national members who are tasked with liaising with their national judicial system. Third countries, such as Switzerland, may second a liaison prosecutor to Eurojust. Switzerland has been sending a liaison prosecutor since 2015. The agreement also stipulates that the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) will serve as the Swiss point of contact with Eurojust.
- Agreement comes into force (22 July)
- Approval by Parliament (18 March)
- Signing of the agreement (27 September)