EU to improve information exchange on criminal records of non-Europeans

BRUSSELS, EU justice ministers agreed Friday “on two important files for tackling terrorism and crime,” EU justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told a news conference after the ministerial meeting this evening.

They agreed on a proposal to include in the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) access to criminal record information of third country nationals and stateless persons convicted in the EU, so they cannot escape their criminal past.

On his part, Urmas Reinsalu, Estonian Minister for Justice whose country holds the current EU Presidency, told the joint press conference that since five years ECRIS has only covered information about EU nationals but now it will cover third country nationals as well as stateless persons.

“This is a very important step further in fight against crime and terrorism,” he stressed.

The EU ministers also agreed on the draft regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders of assets.

Effective freezing and confiscation of assets obtained through criminal activity is an important measure to combat financing of crime, including terrorism, said Reinsalu.

“For too long in Europe criminals could escape justice because the EU authorities could not exchange information fast enough. For too long in Europe criminals enjoyed impunity because the law enforcement authorities could not confiscate their assets. Only two percent of criminal proceeds are recovered and this is a shocking figure,” Jourova added.

Source: kuwait news agency