EU, U.S., to share criminal investigation information

  • World
  • Tuesday, 24 Oct 2006

By Paul Holmes

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union endorsed an agreement with the United States to facilitate the exchange of information between EU and U.S. prosecutors on terrorism and cross-border criminal cases, it said on Tuesday. 

The deal, endorsed by EU ministers on Monday, will allow the EU-wide prosecutors' office Eurojust to exchange information with U.S. counterparts on cases under investigation, said Maarit Loimukoski, a member of Eurojust representing the Finnish EU Presidency. 

"It will facilitate the cooperation," said Loimukoski, one of the 25 prosecutors and judges who work at Eurojust's headquarters in The Hague. 

The deal, to be signed between the European Union and the United States on Nov. 6, follows a series of post-9/11 EU-U.S. agreements, including one on sharing of transatlantic air passenger data clinched this month after tough negotiations. 

EU lawmakers and rights groups have been increasingly worried about protection of data privacy in such agreements. 

Eurojust says each party to this new deal will act according to its own data processing rules and when sharing information, a prosecutor can impose conditions on how it will be used. 

The agreement will enter into force once it is ratified by both parties. 

Eurojust spokesman Joannes Thuy said it was still unclear whether Washington would send a permanent liaison officer to Eurojust's headquarters or appoint a contact point in the United States. 

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