New phase of the EuroMed Justice process (2016-2018)

With the overall objective of contributing to the development of a Euro-Mediterranean area of cooperation in the field of justice and of effective, efficient and democratic justice systems, the European Union, alongside the Project’s Partner Countries from the Southern Neighbourhood, concretely: the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Israel, the Kingdom of Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the Kingdom of Morocco, Palestine and the Republic of Tunisia, have begun work on the new phase of the EuroMed Justice process (2016-2018).

EuroMed Justice brings together the most relevant stakeholders in the field of justice, including representatives from the South Partner Countries (SPCs), the European Commission, the EU Member States, as well as other relevant EU and international organisations active in the judicial sector.

This EuroMed Justice Project is focused on judicial cooperation in the field of criminal law, in coordination with Eurojust and the European Judicial Network (EJN), as well as in the field of civil law (particularly family law, with the support of The Hague Conference on Private International Law), independence of justice (with special emphasis on High Judicial Councils, in partnership with the Council of Europe) and access to justice (mainly legal aid frameworks).

EuroMed Justice’s core focus will be on criminal matters. A cooperation mechanism will facilitate justice practitioners to working together in criminal law. This mechanism will consist of national and regional platforms directly connected with, and sustained by, Eurojust and the European Judicial Network, key stakeholders in EuroMed Justice. Some of the project activities will also be developed in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the Council of Europe (in particular, the European Committee on Crime Problems), and the International Association of Prosecutors.

The EuroMed Justice Expert Group in Criminal Matters – CrimEx will exercise the SPCs’ ownership in the implementation of the project activities and the monitoring of the results in criminal matters. For two years, during eight sessions, benefiting from Eurojust, EJN, CoE and UN support, CrimEx will act as a real think-tank and a regional forum to build trust and mutual confidence, to exchange good practices and information, to carry out thorough analyses of the situation in each SPC and in the whole region, and to set up specific recommendations, guidelines, manuals, studies and researches.

In civil matters the activities relate to the protection of the child best interests in the resolution of cross-border family conflicts. They consist in initiating the measures for narrowing the gaps and improving understanding between secular and religious judges and courts. In this respect, the activities built upon the communication already established within the Malta Judicial conferences and The Hague Conference, as well as other international fora, will support the dialogue between the national institutions operating in this field, and in general simplify the accessibility of information for the parties to such conflicts.

In order to enhance High Judicial Councils’ (HJC) capacities and to ensure high standards of judicial independence, self-governance and accountability the activities will address a proper identification of the specific roles, functions and models of interaction between HJCs, MoJ, Parliaments and Prosecution Offices regarding judicial independence. The objectives of the seminars and study visits to strengthen the HJCs’ capacities will necessarily have an impact on improving further the rule of law, as well as justice independence and integrity.

The activities related to legal aid will contribute to legal drafting and the harmonisation of national legislation with international standards and the identification of best practices.

EuroMed Justice's objectives and activities are carried out following new, bottom-up and flexible, approaches, which will be supported by the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF). The TAF, which will be activated by future requests from South Partner Countries and the identification of common needs, will provide the SPCs with tailor-made activities.

The Project will build up mutual trust and capacities, and promote the sharing of best practices, such as the use of judicial networks for exchanging information and cross-border cooperation, and will be structured around CrimEx Sessions, conferences, training of trainers sessions, and study visits.

The Project is managed by a consortium led by the Fundación Internacional y para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Publicas – FIIAPP (Spain) with its Partners from the Center for International Legal Cooperation – CILC (the Netherlands), the European Institute of Public Administration – EIPA (the Netherlands) and Justice Coopération Internationale – JCI (France).