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European Investigation Order rules 03/03/2014 MEPs have approved new rules that should allow a better response to judicial authorities asking their colleagues in another EU country to carry out investigations there.

European Investigation Order rules

MEPs last week approved new "European Investigation Order" (EIO) rules that should allow a faster and more favourable response to judicial authorities asking their colleagues in another EU country to carry out investigations there.

"This instrument will allow effective prosecution across borders of crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking or corruption. It will also guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms", said Nuno Melo (EPP, PT), rapporteur on the European Investigation Order (EIO) Directive, which was passed by 467 votes to 22, with 10 abstentions.

Under the new rules, member states would have up to 30 days to decide whether or not to accept an EIO request. If accepted, there would then be a 90-day deadline for conducting the requested investigative measure. Any delay would have to be reported to the EU country issuing the EIO.

An EIO request could be refused only on specific grounds, e.g. if it could harm essential national security interests or if existing rules that restrict criminal liability to safeguard press freedom would make it impossible to execute it.

There are also provisions to protect suspects’ fundamental rights. For example, member states' authorities may refuse an EIO request if they believe it would be incompatible with their fundamental rights obligations.

The Directive has still to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers.

In a separate vote, MEPs last week also called for an overhaul of “European Arrest Warrant" (EAW) rules which govern the extradition of suspects within the EU.

Despite its success in speeding up surrender procedures, MEPs say the system needs to be overhauled to better protect the procedural rights of suspected and accused persons, improve detention conditions, and prevent alleged overuse of EAWs by some member states. Between 2005 and 2009 54,689 EAWs were issued but only 11,630 were executed.


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