In July 2021, the Commission published the long-awaited Report on the implementation of Directive 2014/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters, COM(2021) 409 final.
The Report is composed of five chapters: introduction, general assessment, specific points of assessment, data collection and conclusion. We are glad to report that the majority of findings from the commission reflect our own findings which can be found in the EIO-LAPD International Comparative Report. In this short contribution, we want to showcase an interesting point of divergence between both reports. This point of divergence concerns the language regime.
In its report, the Commission found that “More than half of the Member States notified in accordance with Article 33(1)(b) that they accept EIOs in language(s) other than their own (typically English). A few Member States made the acceptance of such other language(s) conditional on the EIO- urgency of the request or a reciprocal commitment from the other Member State in question.”
To the contrary, the EIO-LAPD report states that “with respect to the language in which the incoming EIOs are accepted, the participating Member States were not very flexible. Slovenia was the only participating Member States that accepts incoming EIOs in both Slovenian and English language, without the need to indicate urgency.”
Croatia also accepts incoming EIOs only in Croatian language, but in cases of urgency an English translation is accepted. Germany and Portugal do not accept EIOs in English, even in cases of urgency, while Italy also does not have specific provision regarding the use of English language in cases of urgency, but might accept them in practice. Austria only accepts foreign languages on the basis of reciprocity, not on the basis of urgency.
We think that the calm and reassuring tone in the Commission’s report might be misleading. From our interviews with practitioners, we concluded that translation and language issues are one of key barriers against a smoother application of the Directive. If we want the EIO to work more efficiently, more resources need to be allocated to tackle this issue.
Assist. Jan Stajnko, University of Maribor, Faculty of Law