FRA opinion on the draft directive regarding the European Investigation Order (EIO)

On 14 February 2011, as requested by the European Parliament, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) issued an opinion on the draft directive regarding the European Investigation Order (EIO) in criminal matters. The draft directive, aimed at mutual recognition of warrants for both existing and new evidence, is intended to replace an existing ‘fragmented regime' with a more comprehensive legislative instrument.

The initiative, which was taken by seven EU Member States, promotes cross-border justice while simultaneously raising questions with respect to existing fundamental rights safeguards.

As requested by the European Parliament, the FRA opinion addresses the issue of fundamental rights standards for an instrument involving mutual recognition of investigation orders. It provides an overview of existing European standards, with particular emphasis on elements of fair trial, based on the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights case law.

The FRA opinion further looks at whether the EIO directive should provide for review by the executing state of an issued measure, due to the current lack of comparability of existing standards in criminal procedural law between EU Member States. It acknowledges that such a provision would have to be clearly defined, and that fundamental rights may be effectively protected when executing an EIO by ensuring that a number of safeguards are put in place.

FRA presented the opinion to Members of the European Parliament in the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on 16 March 2011 in the context of the second exchange of views of the EP report on "the European Investigation Order in Criminal Matters," Rapporteur MEP Melo Nuno  (EPP).