Acting Justice Minister Dolores Delgado has described the "priority" agreement as it is in the United States where the largest Internet providers are based.
Acting Justice Minister Dolores Delgado has participated in the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) held in Luxembourg, the last to be held under the Romanian presidency. During the session it was approved the opening of negotiations with the United States, headquarters of the largest Internet service providers, to reach an agreement with this country on cross-border access to electronic criminal evidence. Minister Delgado has described this agreement as "priority".
The United States is the main recipient of requests for judicial assistance for cross-border access to e-evidence. The legal framework used so far is the general framework of criminal judicial assistance, but the slowness of this mechanism has led to the voluntary collaboration of US providers, as an alternative to judicial cooperation. If approved, the agreement will allow the European judicial authorities to address directly to American companies, with due guarantees.
In relation to this same matter, the Council has authorized the participation in the negotiations of the second additional protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, within the scope of the Council of Europe. It will be a multilateral treaty that will bring together states with legal systems very different from those of the member countries of the EU and aims to design more effective mutual assistance mechanisms, in particular, through direct cooperation with Internet providers based in other jurisdictions.
The JHA meeting also addressed the debate regarding the retention of traffic data and location of communications as a means of combating serious crime, which has materialized in a document of conclusions approved by the JAI. Spain considers that it is a key element for the prevention and prosecution of crimes that require the establishment of appropriate safeguards for access to data held in accordance with the provisions of national and European jurisprudence.
In addition, the future of substantive criminal law of the European Union has been debated, this being an essential area for the development of a European area of freedom, security and justice. In this area, there have been important advances in recent times that now have to be consolidated, focusing on the adequate implementation of existing instruments.
Judicial training, linked to the promotion of mutual trust between the EU Member States, has also been on the Council table. The minister pointed out that reinforcing the practical training of justice professionals in European legislation and jurisprudence should be a priority in the EU Justice Agenda for 2020, since training is crucial for the improvement of mutual trust, which constitutes the basis of mutual judicial recognition in criminal matters.
The meeting also reported on the progress of the work for the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, which will start at the end of 2020. The process of selecting the European prosecutors for each Member State is currently underway from the lists sent by each of the delegations.