28/11/2018 - - EJN
51st Plenary meeting of the European Judicial Network, 21-23 November – Vienna, Austria

The meeting gathered around 120 participants: local authorities from Austria, EJN Contact Points from the EU Member States, candidate, associated and third countries, as well as representatives from Eurojust, the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU and EJN partners.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Johannes Martetschläger (1st day), Senior Public Prosecutor at the Department for International Cooperation in Criminal Matters of the Federal Ministry of Justice and EJN National Correspondent for Austria and by Ms Barbara Goeth-Flemmich (2nd day), Head of Office for International Criminal Cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Mr Michael Schwanda, Director-General, Federal Ministry of Justice, opened the meeting, followed by Ms Isabelle Pérignon, Head of Unit, Criminal Procedural Law, European Commission, Directorate General for Justice and Consumers. Ms Pérignon reported that the Commission is currently performing an assessment study of the implementation of the Mutual Recognition Instruments. In this context, she underlined the importance of the EJN website, where the status of implementation of the instruments and the contact details of the competent authorities is very easy to find and where practitioners can access the EJN tools aiming at supporting them in their task of dealing with judicial cooperation.

Mr. Martetschläger underlined the role of the EJN as a key actor in the EU justice landscape and beyond and the importance of the human factor in improving judicial cooperation: “a person who has been introduced to you becomes your judicial partner”. The EJN decentralised structure in proximity of the judicial authorities in the Member States offers solutions in a direct and informal way and act as a mediator when questions of special knowledge and specialisation arise. The revised Guidelines for appointing the EJN Contact Points, a sort of “Job profile” - presented at the meeting - are to be distributed to the Member States to ensure that suitable Contact Points are selected.

Mr Ola Löfgren, Secretary to the EJN, mentioned about the recent publication of the new Eurojust Regulation, where the text regarding the EJN remains unchanged. The main items of the EJN Priorities for 2019 were listed, i.a. follow-up on the Mutual Recognition Instruments, cooperation with other networks and cooperation with the EPPO, the EJN support on the EIO and several measures regarding awareness of the EJN.

The Plenary was dedicated to the Framework Decisions on Supervision measures as an alternative to provisional detention, Supervision of probation measures and alternative sanctions, Custodial Sentences (transfer of prisoners), Financial Penalties, Confiscation Orders and the Directive on the European Protection Order. The general conclusions from the discussions were the need for further awareness and training on these instruments, the involvement of the EJN during the legislative process and the role of the EJN in assisting practitioners regarding the practical application of the instruments.

During the course of the meeting presentations were made on Mutual Recognition Instruments, a Comparative study on Criminal Procedural Laws across the Union, Anti-terrorism and on Practical experiences on forensic psychiatry.

Mr Florin-Răzvan Radu, National Correspondent of the EJN in Romania, introduced the priorities of the upcoming Romanian Presidency of the EU and invited the participants to Bucharest, Romania for the 52nd Plenary meeting of the EJN in June 2019.

In her closing remarks, Ms Barbara Goeth-Flemmich concluded that the EJN Contact Points have been meeting for 20 years in plenaries and that these meetings are essential for the functioning of the EJN; these are the main occasions where the Contact Points have the chance to meet their colleagues and to maintain and develop their EJN contacts. Furthermore, Ms Goeth-Flemmish stressed that the EJN Contact Points remain committed to their tasks and obligations in supporting practitioners and she underlined the importance of input from the EJN to the legislative process in Brussels; the EJN has made important contributions and will continue doing so for the creation and improvement of the Mutual Recognition Instruments.

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