Earlier this June saw the closing of the EuroMed Justice (EMJ) IV project with its final conference in Madrid. Funded by the European Union, EuroMed Justice contributed to the development of a Euro-Mediterranean area of effective, efficient and democratic justice system that is respectful and protective of human rights, through the strengthening of the rule of law and continuous progression towards the alignment with international legal frameworks, principles and standards. CILC, an implementing partner, has supported the project through the provision of Dutch, international and regional expertise.
The June conference, hailed as a great success by the speakers and 63 participants (amongst them CILC), presented the important achievements, milestones, processes and activities implemented in the present phase of EMJ. Namely, it is the culmination of approximately 20 training and exchange activities, study visits as well as preparation of 10 publications, all of which have been delivered in the last 3 years. EuroMed Justice has achieved unprecedented results and historic milestones and “exceeded all expectations”, as noted by Peter Goldschmidt, Director of the European Centre for Judges and Lawyers, EIPA’s Centre in Luxembourg. Of note, the project has led to the establishment of the Experts Group CrimEx on cross-regional cooperation in criminal matters; drafting of the main instruments of cooperation in criminal matters: EuroMed Fiches, Legal and Gaps Analyses, Handbook on judicial cooperation, and Digital Evidence Manual; cross-regional meeting of the EJN Contact Points and the CrimEx platform, first meeting of the EuroMed Forum of Prosecutors General, and EuroMed Justice’s close coordination with other EU-funded projects: EuroMed Police, Cyber South, and CT MENA.
Overall, the conference demonstrated the excellent positioning of EMJ, as well as the support from the highest judicial authorities. As for the future of EMJ, EU and international organisations commented on their willingness for a continuation, following its present success. During the breaks, several delegations put forward questions about the future. In the closing remarks of the European Commission, Mattia Tempini reassured those present that there would indeed be a next phase of EMJ. Regarding evaluation of EMJ, many EU and international organisations, as well as EU Member States, commented the excellent external evaluation that was recently released by the European Commission.