Executive summary

AuthorBallegooij, Wouter van
European Arre st Warrant
Executive summary
EU Member Stat es have been extraditing suspects and sentenced persons to each ot her for many
decades, on the basis of bilateral and multilateral conventions. Those arrangements were, however,
slow and thwarted by exceptions based on national sovereignty. As EU integration has progressed,
the Member St ates have agreed to base their cooperation on the principle of mu tual r ecog nition
of judicial decisions, moving away fro m a sys tem in which decisio ns o n extr aditio n were ult imately
taken a t governm ent level. This principle was implemented by t he Council framework deci sion on
the European Arr est Warrant and the su rrender procedur es between Member States (FD EA W)
adopt ed in 2002, on t he bas is of r apid n egot iatio ns followin g the 9/11 ter roris t attacks. This s tudy is
the second o f two publications envisaged to support an o wn-initiative im plementation report on
the FD EAW by the European Parliamen t. In Februar y 2020, a framewo rk for analys is as well as
preliminary findings on the implementation of the aforementioned legislation in pr actice was
present ed. This study presents conclusions on the implementation of the framework decision and
recommendations as to how to address the shor tcomings identified, as per t he req uest of the
Key issues and challenges in the implementation of the FD EAW
Surrender procedures based on the FD EAW, im plemented s ince 2004, g enerally run smoothly.
Available data, discussed in chapter 1, show that it has led to a considerable simplification and
speeding up of handover pr ocedures. This includes so me high-profile cases o f serious crime and
terrorism. In 2017, the average time between the arrest and surr ender of people who did not
consent t o surrender was 40 days, a r emarkable reduction compared to the one-year av era ge u nder
the pre-existing extra dition regime. Not withstanding these a chievements, a nu m be r o f c h al lenges
remain. More specifically, reports by international organisations, EU instit utio ns, case law and
cont ribut ions by pr actit ioners, aca demics and n on-governmental organisations point to a number
of challenges in the is suance and execution o f EAWs. Tho se challenges relat e back to core debates
concerning judicial independence, the nature of mutual recognition and its relationship with
international norms, primary EU law and values, including fundamental rights, constitutional
principles an d (the need for) additional harm onisation measures. Thes e issu es are discus sed in
chapter 2. They concern t he following matter s:
the d efinitio n of iss uing ju dicial auth orit ies an d the ir indep endence fr om g over nment,
which excludes police officers and organs of the executive, but can include public
pro secut ors in a ccorda nce with certa in conditions (Section 2.1.1.)
the proportionality of a number of EAWs issued for 'minor crimes' and before the case
was 'tr ial ready', also in view of other po ssible judicial cooperat ion measures, where the
European Parliament's call for legislative reform has been answered through guidelines
in a Comm issio n Han dbook ( Section 2.1 .2);
the situation pending the hearing by the executing judicial authority, such as
pos sibilitie s offer ed fo r hea ring by t he iss uing jud icial aut horitie s prior to sur render and
the time limits to be respect ed, includ ing in the situation when appeals are lodged
(Section 2.2.1);
the v erifica tion o f dou ble crim inality by executin g judicia l auth orities, le ading to a lively
academic debate on the compatibility of t his requiremen t with the prin ciple of mut ual
recognition and potential further questions to be raised with the CJEU; and the lack of
approximation of certain offences for which verification is no longer allowed
(Section 2.2.2);

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