The fourth phase of the EuroMed Justice project (2016-2018) kicked off smoothly this week, bringing the main judicial stakeholders from across the Mediterranean region together in The Hague.
The final project activities and priorities, which were designed following a bottom-up and flexible approach in consultation with South Partner Countries, and calendar were presented, discussed with, and endorsed by the project stakeholders – including representatives from South Partner Countries, EU Member States, the European Commission and prominent EU institutions (notably EUROJUST, European Judicial Network, and the Hague Conference, with whom EuroMed Justice will cooperate closely in the coming years).
With a duration of three years, the project is the continuation of work that has been under way since 2004, in which the countries of the European Union and of the Southern Neighbourhood, such as Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian National Authority, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, are working to improve their judicial systems.
Above all, this work is focused on the international cooperation on matters related to criminal and civil justice (particularly as concerns the family) in the consolidation of judicial independence, and on improving access to justice through a participatory and collaborative approach between the countries of the EU and the Mediterranean basin. To help achieve this, the project will be supported by the ministries of justice, the judiciary and prosecutor’s offices, as well as the bar associations of the different countries. The project will also benefit from the contributions of different international and European institutions, specifically the European Judicial Network and Eurojust.
A large part of the activities will be focussed on improving judicial assistance in criminal matters, taking into account the rise in organised crime, terrorism and cybercrime in an increasingly globalised world where criminals are not limited by borders.
Within the framework of the programme, good practices will be shared among the European partners, including the use of European judicial networks for information exchange, and the application of new collaboration techniques, such as joint investigation teams coordinated by Eurojust to effectively combat the most complex crimes.
With European Union funding in the amount of €4.5 million, efforts will be structured around working groups of criminal justice experts, conferences and working sessions, including technical training sessions and visits to the different institutions involved in the project.