Final Report on EJN Peer Evaluation
At the end of March 2021, the EJN published the final report outlining the outcome of its peer evaluation. The peer evaluation is based on contributions and input from the EJN contact points in the EU Member States, EU candidate countries, and EJN-associated countries. It aims at evaluating the functioning of the network with a special focus on its operational functions and its support to judicial cooperation. Based on the findings of the evaluation, the report sets out an Action Plan with different activities to be taken by the EJN contact points, national correspondents, and the EJN secretariat.
In order to improve the cooperation on cases, the Action Plan recommends the establishment of a catalogue of best practices on the handling of EJN cases, including an illustration of the EJN case cycle to be developed by the EJN secretariat. In addition, the report concludes that cooperation with EJN contact points in third countries and other judicial networks should be reinforced through, for instance, further working agreements, Memoranda of Understanding, and meetings. EU countries with a lower response rate on operational cases should be addressed more intensively. Proper allocation of cases between the EJN and Eurojust should be further promoted.
To improve the functioning of the EJN and the engagement of the contact points, national correspondents are asked to regularly review the nominated contact points for their countries in order to ensure adequate representation, with a view to regional and professional balance. Furthermore, the national correspondents and the national authorities should closely observe the EJN guidelines on appointing contact points to make sure that suitable candidates are selected. Additionally, national authorities should allocate sufficient time for the contact points to fulfil their tasks. The list of contact points on the EJN website should be improved by supplementing and streamlining the information on regional competence, specialisation, and availability of the contact points, including photos. More regional and national meetings could provide added value for the functioning of the network in the various countries/regions and promote engagement with the EJN. Another new measure worth analysing would be the introduction of a 24/7 availability of the contact points.
Lastly, the EJN should develop a broader awareness strategy to promote the work of the network by, for instance, producing awareness-raising material, promoting the insertion of the EJN website into the intranet pages of the judicial authorities, and more strongly using the EJN reporting tool for EJN cases.