Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
European Union flag

The police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters ( PJZS ; English police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters , PJCCM ; French coopération policière et judiciaire en matière pénale , CPJMP ) was a policy area of ​​the European Union . It goes back to the third of the three pillars of the EU established by the Maastricht Treaty , cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs . With the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997, judicial cooperation in civil matters and the accompanying measures for the free movement of persons were transferred to the first pillar, leaving only police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters in the third pillar . The PJZS, the judicial cooperation in civil matters and the accompanying measures for the free movement of persons together formed the overarching concept of an “ area of ​​freedom, security and justice ”.

However, while the other policy areas of the area of ​​freedom, security and justice were regulated in the EC Treaty and were subject to the co-decision procedure in European legislation , special provisions that were laid down in the EU Treaty applied to the PJZS . In particular, the European Parliament and the European Commission had significantly less say in this area. Decisions were made only in the Council of the EU (in the formation of the Council for Justice and Home Affairs ), which in principle decided unanimously.

With the Treaty of Lisbon , which came into force in 2009, this special status of the PJZS was abolished. The policy area has now been incorporated into the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the ordinary legislative procedure introduced. At the same time, the PJZS was divided into two new areas in the contract structure, namely police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters .


The policy of internal security has traditionally been considered a key piece of state sovereignty considered. That is why there have always been considerable reservations on the part of the Member States in this area against European integration , which could not decide on any kind of cooperation.

With the progress of the development of the European internal market and the associated freedom of movement , however, awareness of the associated risks and dangers also increased. In view of this, at a meeting of the European Council in Rome on December 1 and 2, 1975, it was decided to work more closely together in the fields of home affairs and security. For this purpose, the so-called TREVI group (stands for Terrorisme, Radicalisme, Extrémisme et Violence Internationale or for the first conference venue Trevi ) was set up. This group consisted of the interior ministers of the member states of the European Communities and stood outside the institutional framework of the European Communities, whose bodies were not involved in the activities of the TREVI group. In terms of intergovernmental cooperation, the TREVI group was unable to pass any binding resolutions; it could only draft conventions which, however, required ratification by the member states.

The 1985 Schengen Agreement , which some of the EC member states signed, initially provided for a reduction in border controls, but not yet completely dismantled because of concerns about an increase in international crime and terrorism. The full opening of the internal borders was only brought about by the Schengen Implementing Agreement of 1990, which for the first time provided for a coordination of police activities in the participating states, and on 26 March 1995 led to the abolition of internal border controls among initially seven EC member states. The Schengen area was created .

At the same time, since the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 , the EU Treaty provided for cooperation between the member states in the field of justice and home affairs. This intergovernmental cooperation was considered the third of the three pillars of the European Union (the other two were the European Communities and the Common Foreign and Security Policy ). Legislative activities by the EU for justice and home affairs were initially expressly excluded. Common laws could therefore initially only be concluded through separate international agreements (so-called conventions or conventions), which had to be ratified by all national parliaments.

This changed with the Treaty of Amsterdam . The contents of the Schengen Agreement were incorporated into the EU Treaty and were now found under the concept of the area of ​​freedom, security and justice as the Schengen acquis . Most areas of justice and home affairs have now been “ communitized ”, i. H. included in the EC Treaty ; the co-decision procedure , in which the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union could jointly enact laws , thus applied to them. Only for the PJZS did some member states maintain sovereignty reservations, so that it remained the only policy area in the third pillar. However, the decision-making procedures were also simplified here, as the Council of the EU could now legislate by unanimous decision without national ratification being necessary. The PJZS was the only area in which the European Union could pass laws without the European Parliament or national parliaments being involved. It was therefore often seen as an example of the European Union's democratic deficit .

The basic direction of the PJZS was defined by the Council of the EU in so-called framework programs, such as GROTIUS, STOP, FALCONE and AGIS. Important steps in the development of the PJZS were, in particular, the establishment of the European Police Office Europol (1995, initially founded by an agreement and transferred to the PJZS framework in 2009) and the European judicial authority Eurojust (2002). The focus of Europol's activities was on collecting and analyzing information on cross-border crime, as well as on crime research and the training and education of police officers. Eurojust supported the coordination of the Member States, for example in investigations and prosecutions, and worked to facilitate requests for mutual legal assistance and extradition .

Although several important resolutions were passed within the framework of the PJZS ( see below ), deficits in the use and implementation of the newly created instruments were repeatedly complained about. National police officers often had reservations about European cooperation, which made cross-border communication and cooperation difficult. The cooperation of the judicial authorities, however, was mostly rated better than that of the police.

In the EU constitutional treaty of 2004, the member states finally agreed to abolish the PJZS as an independent pillar of the EU and to introduce the ordinary legislative procedure for this area too , which provided for decisions by a qualified majority in the Council and an equal right of co-decision for the European Parliament. At the same time, the organizational framework for cooperation in criminal matters should be simplified, for example by recognizing the previously legally independent institutions Europol and Eurojust as agencies of the European Union . Although the Constitutional Treaty was abandoned in 2005 after failed referenda in France and the Netherlands, the corresponding provisions were incorporated into the 2007 Lisbon Treaty . When it came into force in 2009, the PJZS ceased to exist and was divided into police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters , which are regulated in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (FEU Treaty).


in force
European Act
  Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif
European Communities Three pillars of the European Union
European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Contract expired in 2002 European Union (EU)
    European Economic Community (EEC) European Community (EC)
      Justice and Home Affairs (JI)
  Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (PJZS)
European Political Cooperation (EPC) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
Western Union (WU) Western European Union (WEU)    
dissolved on July 1, 2011


The overriding goal of the PJZS, according to Article 29 of the EU Treaty, was to ensure a high level of security through joint action by the police and judicial authorities of the member states in preventing and combating crime , in particular terrorism , and the trafficking in people , arms and drugs , of corruption , fraud and crimes against children and women.

According to Articles 30 and 31 of the EU Treaty, this goal should be achieved, among other things, through cooperation between the police authorities in the operational area, in data collection , in training and further education and in the evaluation of investigative techniques and the exchange of personnel. In the judiciary, efforts have been made to facilitate cooperation between Member States in judicial proceedings and in the enforcement of decisions. The PJZS also aimed to facilitate extradition , harmonize legal provisions and reduce conflicts of competency. In addition, minimum requirements for the constituent elements and penalties for certain offenses should be introduced.


In the area of ​​the PJZS, the Council of the European Union was of central importance and was responsible for all political measures under Article 34 of the EU Treaty. This was taken over by the formation as the Council for Justice and Home Affairs . The governments of the member states thus had complete control over this policy area. Article 33 of the EU Treaty also made it explicitly clear that the PJZS did not affect the Member States' responsibility for maintaining public order and protecting internal security.

According to Article 36 of the EU Treaty, the Council was assisted by a committee made up of senior officials from the Member States, the coordination committee for police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters ("Article 36 Committee" for short). This committee delivered opinions to the council and participated in the preparation of its decisions within the framework of the PJZS.

The operational activities within the PJZS were mainly carried out by Europol and Eurojust . There was also a task force of the European police chiefs , which, however, only met twice a year and even suffered from acceptance problems among its own members. Finally, a European Police Academy in Bramshill, England , dealt with the training and further education of police officers in subject areas with a European dimension.

The role of the European Commission in the PJZS was comparatively weak. According to Article 34, Paragraph 2 of the EU Treaty, it only had the right of initiative and, according to Article 36, Paragraph 2 of the EU Treaty, was “fully involved” in the work of the Council. She was also able to bring an action for annulment against PJZS measures at the European Court of Justice . The European Parliament finally had to Article 39 of the EU Treaty before the adoption of certain measures of the Council to be heard. it was regularly informed about the work in the field of PJZS and was able to address questions and recommendations to the council. Once a year it held a debate on the progress of the PJZS, but it had no co-decision-making rights of its own.

The PJZS was subject to the judicature of the European Court of Justice to a lesser extent than the policies of the European Communities , but much more so than the common foreign and security policy . In accordance with Article 35, Paragraph 1.2 of the EU Treaty, it decided by way of a preliminary ruling on the interpretation and validity of PJZS measures, insofar as the member states have authorized their national courts to submit appropriate submissions. In addition, under Article 35 (6) of the EU Treaty, the member states and the Commission could bring an action for annulment against certain PJZS measures at the ECJ. Finally, Article 35 (7) TEU provided for a procedure if member states did not implement the PJZS measures in an appropriate manner (in accordance with the infringement procedure for the European Communities).


The following instruments were available to the council during the implementation of the PJZS:

  • Common positions which generally determined the way in which the Union should act on a given issue,
  • Framework decisions that provided for the approximation of legal and administrative provisions of the member states and (similar to the directives in the area of ​​the European Communities) were only binding with regard to the objective, but not the procedure,
  • Resolutions that served to achieve the other objectives of the PJZS, which were not aimed at harmonizing the law, and which were binding but not directly effective,
  • Conventions which required ratification by the Member States and did not take effect until they had been adopted by at least half of the Member States, and then only for them,
  • Implementing decisions, which served to put the decisions and agreements in concrete terms.

In principle, decisions were made unanimously; The only exception were the implementing decisions: These were passed with a qualified majority, insofar as they specified resolutions; insofar as they served to implement conventions, a two-thirds majority was required.

As a further instrument, according to Articles 38 and 24 of the EU Treaty, the Council was also able to conclude international agreements with third countries or international organizations. In contrast to contract negotiations within the framework of the European Communities, the negotiations were not conducted by the Commission, but by the Council Presidency , which was able to avail itself of the support of the Commission.

In the area of ​​the PJZS, too, closer cooperation between individual member states was possible. Art. 40-40b of the EU treaty, however, provide a special framework over and above the general framework of Art. 43ff. Requirements going beyond the EU treaty. In the end, it never happened.

The administrative expenses for the PJZS according to Article 41 of the EU Treaty were financed entirely from the EU budget . Operational expenditure was also borne by the EU, unless the Council unanimously passed a resolution that the member states take over the operational decisions for a particular measure.

Resolutions within the framework of the PJZS

Police cooperation

The European Convention of April 20, 1959 on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters ( Federal Law Gazette 1964 II pp. 1369, 1386 ), which came into force in 2005 and which includes rules for surrender, was an important step in facilitating police cooperation in the operational area stolen objects, the transfer of persons, the hearing of witnesses in other Member States via video circuit, telephone surveillance and the establishment of joint investigation teams. In 2002 Spain submitted a proposal for a convention to combat drug trafficking on the high seas.

Some resolutions were also passed on the exchange of police information, for example in the area of terrorism , the movement of groups and the protection of public figures . Similar measures in the area of football hooliganism have repeatedly been proposed .

In the field of customs, the Naples Convention on Administrative Assistance and Cooperation between Customs Administrations and an Additional Convention on the Use of Information Technology were concluded.

Judicial cooperation

To facilitate cooperation in legal proceedings and enforcement, inter alia a. the Framework Decision 2005/214 / JHA on the recognition of fines in other Member States penalties and fines , the Convention 98 / C 216/01 on the recognition of the disqualification as well as the Decision 2003/335 / JHA on cooperation in the prosecution of genocide accepted.

To facilitate extradition, a European arrest warrant was created through framework decision 2002/584 / JHA . Its aim is to arrest and surrender people staying in other Member States for the purpose of criminal prosecution or enforcement. Its enforcement may only be refused by the requested state under certain conditions.

Various framework resolutions have laid down minimum requirements for the constituent elements and penalties for certain crimes, such as for

Furthermore, in 2005 a Framework Decision 2005/212 / JI on the confiscation of instrumentalities and the fruit of a crime and the Framework Decision 2009/315 / JI was issued , which created a European criminal records information system and partially replaced the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Green papers dealt with alternatives to pre- trial detention and the guarantee of minimum procedural guarantees . In 1999 the Commission dealt with issues relating to the protection of victims.

See also


  • Giovanni Arcudi & Michael E. Smith, The European Gendarmerie Force: a solution in search of problems ?, European Security , 22 (1): 1-20, 2013, doi : 10.1080 / 09662839.2012.747511 .
  • Stefan Braum: European criminal law . Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann 2003.
  • Teresa Eder, What powers does the European Gendarmerie Force have? , Der Standard, February 5, 2014.
  • Svenja Kahlke: Eurojust. On the way to a European public prosecutor's office? Judicial cooperation in criminal matters within the European Union . Berlin: Logos Verlag 2004.
  • Peter-Christian Müller-Graff , Friedemann Kainer: Cooperation in criminal matters ; in: Werner Weidenfeld / Wolfgang Wessels (eds.), Europe from A to Z, Berlin 2006, p. 388ff., ISBN 3832913785 .
  • Thomas Oppermann : Europarecht , Munich 2005, p. 510ff., ISBN 3406535410 .
  • Andreas Rasner: Necessity, legitimacy and feasibility of the Corpus Juris Florence. An analysis using the example of Art. 1 (fraud to the detriment of the financial interests of the European Communities and criminal offenses treated as such) . Berlin: Duncker & Humblot 2005.
  • Helmut Satzger : The Europeanization of Criminal Law. An investigation into the influence of European Community law on German criminal law . Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Munich: Carl Heymanns 2001.
  • Martin Wasmeier (Hrsg.): The criminal law of the European Union. European Commission, DG Justice and Home Affairs . Baden-Baden: Nomos 2003.

Individual evidence

  1. Summary of EU legislation
  2. THE STORY OF THE “NEW” EUROPEAN POLICE OFFICE (EUROPOL) ( Memento of the original from September 4, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.gouverner.net
  3. 90 days after the third instrument of ratification has been deposited (Art. 27, Paragraph 2)