Eurojust Annual Report 2020
On 23 March 2021, Eurojust published its Annual Report for the year 2020. In 2020, Eurojust continued to be fully operational during the Covid-19 pandemic. The total number of cases supported by the agency increased 13% compared to the previous year, with 8800 cross-border criminal investigations. 4200 cases were new cases and 4600 ongoing cases from previous years.
As in the previous years, the majority of new cases concerned swindling and fraud (1264), money laundering (595), and drug trafficking (562). 1519 cases were solved with a rapid response, providing support within hours if necessary. Furthermore, 74 new agreements for Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) were signed – they will join the 188 ongoing JITs. Hence, in 2020, Eurojust provided financial and/or operational support to 262 JITs. In addition, Eurojust coordinated four major cross-border actions against intellectual property crime in 2020, taking down 5600 servers.
In 2020, Eurojust also provided operational guidance on the application of EU judicial cooperation instruments, in particular with regard to the European Arrest Warrant (1284 cases), the European Investigation Order (3159 cases), and freezing and confiscation, conflicts of jurisdiction, and extradition to third countries. It published a joint report with the EJN on the latter (→eucrim 4/2020, 288).
Looking at crime-related priority areas, Eurojust handled 2647 ongoing and new cases of swindling and fraud, 1460 cases of money laundering, and 1169 cases of drug trafficking. Numerous cases involving mobile organised crime groups, trafficking in human beings, cybercrime, corruption, crimes against the EU’s financial interests, migrant smuggling, terrorism, and environmental crime also figure on the list.
Regarding cooperation with third States, Eurojust continued to expand its network by forming a gateway for prosecutors to 55 jurisdictions worldwide. In 2020, liaison officers from Albania, Georgia, and Serbia were deployed to Eurojust. In line with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a liaison officer was also deployed from the UK after Brexit. The network of Eurojust contact points was also extended, with contact points joining from Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and Kosovo. Cooperation with Latin America took a big step forward through the agreement on broader access to the Iber@SecureCommunicationSystem, which opens the system to all national desks at Eurojust.
Activities involving Eurojust’s governance and agency management in 2020 included the elections of the president, Ladislav Hamram, national member for the Slovak Republic, and vice-president, Boštjan Škrlec, national member for Slovenia. By the end of 2020, Eurojust had 332 holders of positions, including 26 national members assisted by 60 deputies and assistants as well as 223 staff members and 22 seconded national experts.
Eurojust has continued to contribute to the discussions and measures to speed up digitalisation of criminal justice across borders.