Author: Florin-Răzvan Radu
Subcommittee: EU Institutions
At the 83rd plenary meeting of the Council of Europe’s Committee of experts on the operation of European Conventions on cooperation in criminal matters (PC-OC), that took place in Strasbourg on 2-4 May 2023, the delegations from the Council of Europe Member States and observers, as well as the European Commission and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office representatives continued the discussion on the application of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters for cooperation between the EPPO and the non-EU States Parties to this convention and its Additional Protocols.
First, the PC-OC took note of the fact that the Committee of Ministers approved its proposal to replace the second deliverable in its terms of reference (“Draft Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (ETS 30) on the relations with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office”) with a study to assess the feasibility of negotiating a binding legal instrument regarding the application of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters on the relations with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The PC-OC considered that a crucial element for assessing the feasibility of finding a solution regarding this issue under the auspices of the Council of Europe was having a clearer picture regarding the preference of States Parties vis-à-vis the available options, and in particular of the Member States of the EU.
The PC-OC decided to invite non-EU Member States Parties to the Convention which have not yet responded to the questionnaires to do so, in order to have as complete an overview as possible of the situation regarding the possibility to apply these Council of Europe instruments on the sole basis of the declarations made by the EU Member States participating in the EPPO or, respectively, the need for a separate legal instrument. It also invited non-EU Member States to share any information regarding relevant practical experience or difficulties they may have faced in cooperating with the EPPO. Moreover, the PC-OC decided to invite the EPPO to provide information regarding the existing cooperation between the EPPO and non-EU Member States, including problems and refusals of co-operation due to a lack of legal basis.