The European Union and Albania have taken steps to strengthen their mutual cooperation against organized crime. Both sides signed an agreement to enhance strategic judicial cooperation between Albania and the EU’s Eurojust, European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit set up in 2002. Following the deals with Montenegro and FYROM, it will be the third such agreement between the EU and Western Balkan region, which is widely seen as a further important step in the joint fight against serious cross-border crimes since it will introduce efficient exchange of judicial information and sharing of evidence.
With today’s deal, Albania will benefit from accessing the EU’s information systems as well as sharing personal data with investigators and prosecutors across the bloc. During the past three years, Albania has been involved in 26 international investigations into serious crimes, such as cross-border drug trafficking and crimes against life, personal freedom including kidnapping and illegal trade in human organs. Over the past decade, Eurojust has established an increasingly strong network for structural judicial cooperation between the Western Balkan countries and EU member states. FYROM and Montenegro, who already have judicial cooperation agreements with the EU, also have their liaison prosecutors appointed in The Hague who work side by side with EU countries to facilitate on-going investigations.
Between January 2015 and September 2018, almost 200 cases have been registered through Eurojust involving Albania. The most common crimes involve drug trafficking, swindling and fraud as well as crime against life, limb and personal freedom. Eurojust stimulates and enhances the cooperation between the competent authorities of the member states and improve the coordination of their prosecutions and litigations. Eurojust can formally cooperate with third countries if it has cooperation agreements with them covering the exchange of judicial information and personal data.