Eurojust Annual Report 2018
At the beginning of April 2019, Eurojust published its Annual Report for the year 2018.
In 2018, Eurojust once again saw an increase in its casework, with 3317 new cases. The majority of cases dealt with fraud (907), drug trafficking (451), and money laundering (432). 545 of these cases also involved third states. In total, Eurojust dealt with over 6500 cases in 2018, the largest number in its history. Furthermore, 85 new Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) were signed off in 2018.
‘Operation Pollino’ serves as an example of a major organised crime investigation that was conducted in 2018 and shows how Eurojust works.
Looking at priority areas such as counter-terrorism, cybercrime, and migrant smuggling, Eurojust worked on 191 terrorism cases, 219 cybercrime cases, and 157 migrant smuggling cases in these areas. 28 coordination meetings were organised at Eurojust on cybercrime cases alone. In the area of counter-terrorism, 2018 saw a proposal to set up a European Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register at Eurojust, with the aim of detecting possible links between ongoing investigations conducted in different Member States and identifying the coordination needs between all judicial authorities concerned.
Developments with regard to Eurojust’s cooperation with third States included the deployment of Liaison Officers of the Ukraine and North Macedonia at Eurojust. Contact points from Nigeria, Iran, Mauritius, and South Africa recently joined Eurojust’s international judicial contact point network. Albania signed a cooperation agreement, and first steps were also taken to strengthen cooperation with Libya. Furthermore, negotiations for a cooperation agreement with Frontex were started.
Eurojust’s support in the area of mutual recognition and the use of judicial cooperation tools in 2018 amounted to assistance in over 1000 European Investigation Orders and 700 European Arrest Warrants.
In 2018, Eurojust presented a general proposal on Digital Criminal Justice. The proposal aims at answering the need to keep pace with the growing interconnectivity and digitalisation of cooperation among law enforcement agencies in Europe.
Looking ahead, the new Eurojust Regulation will become applicable in December 2019, changing Eurojust from the European Union Judicial Cooperation Unit to the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation.
Lastly, the report is critical of the budgetary reductions foreseen for Eurojust in 2019 and to its Multi-Annual Financial Framework, which poses a real challenge for the Agency and its increasing number of cases.