Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

EU and US seal extradition pact

The EU and the US have signed a judicial co-operation agreement allowing European countries to refuse to extradite criminals who may be sentenced to the death penalty.

"We are establishing a joint ambition to continue our co-operation to fight gross international crime. But equally important is that we are agreed on strengthening the protection of the rights of the individual," Swedish justice minister Beatrice Ask, on behalf of the EU presidency, said at a signing ceremony with US attorney general Eric Holder at the Swedish embassy in Washington on Wednesday (28 October).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Prison cell: the pact will respect EU opposition to the death penalty (Photo: un.org)

A long-time critic of the death penalty in the US, the EU began negotiating the extradition agreement after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil.

This is the first agreement on extradition between the United States and the European Union. It will enter into force in February 2010, after EU justice ministers ratified the deal earlier this month.

Under the deal, existing bilateral extradition treaties between the US and each member state will be streamlined and modernised, clarifying for instance the kind of offences that are extraditable, rules surrounding the exchange of information and transmission of documents and transit rules.

The agreement also sets the ground for the creation of joint European-US task forces to address terrorism and serious crimes and enables easier access to bank account information of suspected criminals.

It will allow international witnesses to testify by video conference, making it no longer necessary for a European witness, for example, to cross the Atlantic in order to appear in court.

While the two politicians applauded the agreement, they acknowledged that many important details remain to be ironed out. "The declaration is what we agreed on," Ms Ask said. "It's not possible for us to sort out all the judicial details."

Neither will the agreement have any impact on the transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Mr Holder said he hoped more countries would take inmates, but expressed scepticism that the official deadline for closing the prison – 22 January 2010 - could be met.

Only a handful of European countries so far have agreed to accept people released from Guantanamo. Spain, which will take over the rotating EU presidency in January, has been asked by the US to persuade the other member states to accept more detainees.

Madrid has already committed to accepting two detainees and is currently reviewing additional files of other inmates, Spanish justice minister Francisco Caamano said after an earlier meeting Mr Holder. The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said that Spain will only accept Guantanamo detainees who are not facing charges and have no criminal record in any EU country.

MEPs disagree with US on visas and tourist tax

The US will continue to treat EU members on a bilateral basis in its visa regime, but will review its passenger data policy towards Europeans, interior minister Janet Napolitano told MEPs on Friday. She also defended a controversial tourist tax as the only way to fund tourism promotion in the country.

Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership

Bucharest expects other member states to decide on its accession to the passport-free area before it takes the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2019 - amid criticism of a controversial new justice reform.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

Watchdogs concerned by EU-US data pact

European data protection authorities tell US to improve oversight on 'Privacy Shield' scheme, otherwise they would go to the EU's highest court.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

News in Brief

  1. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  2. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  3. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  4. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  5. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal
  6. French government rules out Corsican autonomy
  7. Salmonella food poisoning on rise in Europe
  8. EU institutions agree to start talks on lobby register

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  2. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  3. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  4. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  5. Romania searching for EU respectability
  6. Last chance for Poland to return property to rightful owners
  7. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  8. VW to EU: We will fail on recall promise