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Key EU terms: E

19 February 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 24 February 2010

A list of key EU legal terminology: E


Early warning system on new synthetic drugs

Established by a joint action in 1997, the early warning system provides for the constant monitoring of synthetic drugs and components found on the market, so that the EU can take action to control them.


Exchange on drug demand reduction action: launched to exchange information and best practices in demand reduction.


National Europol Drugs Units: Member States designate these units within their law enforcement services to send information to Europol.


European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction: 1 of 12 decentralised European Community agencies, set up in 1993 in response to demands for an accurate picture of the drugs phenomenon throughout the EU.


Under the Treaty of Amsterdam, employment is now enshrined as one of the European Communitys objectives. A new title on employment (Title VIII) in the EC Treaty states that employment is to be taken into consideration in other Community policies.

Enforcement of a judgment

The maxim judgment is only as good as its enforcement is relevant in the international context. Before a judgment can be enforced, that is to say, carried out, it must first be recognised.

Environmental crime

EU Member States have agreed to bring their laws for punishing environmental crime, such as industrial pollution, closer together.


EU citizenship confers the right to protection from discrimination on the grounds of, among other things, sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. This is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Equal opportunities

Two key elements of the general principle of equal opportunities are the ban on discrimination on grounds of nationality (EC Treaty: Article 12) and equal pay for men and women (EC Treaty: Article 141). It is intended to apply to all fields, particularly economic, social, cultural and family life.

Equal treatment

An important right conferred by EU citizenship. The Treaty of Amsterdam added a new Article 13 to the Treaty, reinforcing the principle of non-discrimination. Under this new article, the Council has the power to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Ethnic origin

EU citizenship confers the right to protection from discrimination on the grounds of, among other things, ethnic origin. This is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

EU citizenship

The 1991 Maastricht Treaty established the concept of European citizenship. EU citizenship confers a range of rights, including freedom of movement and the right to vote and stand in local and European elections in every Member State.

EU Council of Ministers

The EUs main decision-making institution. It consists of the ministers of the 15 Member States responsible for each policy area, one of which is justice and home affairs. Decisions are prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member States (Coreper), assisted by working parties of national government officials.


A web site offering job seekers and employers an information and advisory service about employment.


A computerised central database, agreed upon in 2000, for comparing the fingerprints of asylum applicants in the EU.


Eurojust is a high level team of senior lawyers, magistrates, prosecutors, judges and other legal experts seconded from every EU country, based in Brussels. It is able to give immediate legal advice and assistance in cross-border cases to the investigators, prosecutors and judges in different EU Member States. It advises judges and prosecutors where to look for information that they need from another EU country and on how to proceed in a cross-border cases. It handles letters rogatory, which ask for information or enquiries to be carried out by the authorities in another country, and sends them to the right authorities for action. It also helps and cooperates with OLAF, the EUs Anti-Fraud Office, in cases affecting the EUs financial interests. Eurojust may recommend to national authorities to take certain steps and also to initiate investigations. However, Eurojust has no authority to launch or carry out investigations itself.

European Anti-Fraud Office-OLAF

An independent investigation service established in 1999 in the Commission to investigate fraud damaging to the Communitys interests, including detection and monitoring of fraud in the customs field.

European Commission

A European Community institution with powers of legislative initiative, implementation, management and control. It is the guardian of the Treaties and the embodiment of the interests of the Community. The Commission shares the right to initiate proposals in justice and home affairs with Member States.

European Community

The European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community are all governed by the Treaty establishing the European Communities.

European Convention on Human Rights

Signed in Rome in 1950 under the aegis of the Council of Europe, the Convention established a system of international protection for human rights and set up a European Court of Human Rights.

European Council

The term used to describe the regular meetings of the Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States. Its objectives are to give the EU the impetus it needs in order to develop further and to define general policy guidelines.

European Forum for Crime Prevention

Launched by the European Commission in May 2001, the forum encourages partnership between the main non-governmental players in crime prevention with public authorities with a view to developing crime reduction methods and particularly techniques to reduce opportunities for criminals.

European Judicial Network (civil)

A European Judicial Network to simplify cross-border civil and commercial litigation was created in December 2002.

European Judiciary Network (criminal)

Set up by the Council, the network provides contact points in the Member States to facilitate exchange of information among anti-crime professionals.

European Migration Information Network - EMIN

A web-based system designed to provide a one-stop shop for information on international migration.

European Network on Crime Prevention

A network that will deal in priority with urban criminality, youth and drug-related crime.

European Parliament

The assembly of the representatives of the 370 million Union citizens. Parliaments main role is to consider the Commissions proposals. It is associated with the Council in the legislative process, in some cases as co-legislator.

European Police Chiefs Task Force

A top level forum for interpersonal communication among Member States police forces.

European Police College - CEPOL

An academy for the training of senior and middle-ranking law enforcement officials, based on common standards, to work at EU level.

European rapid reaction force

A force of police personnel designed to participate in peacekeeping efforts outside the EU, operational since 2003.

European Refugee Fund

A Community instrument providing financial solidarity (EUR 216 million during 2004) between Member States efforts in coping with refugees and displaced persons entering the EU.

European Union troika

A meeting of ministers of the current past, present and future presidencies of the EU.

Europol national drug units

In the fight against drug trafficking and supply, Member States designate these units (EDUs) within their law enforcement services to send information to Europol.


European Police Office: based in the Hague in the Netherlands, its aim is to improve the effectiveness and cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of the Member States in preventing and combating serious international organised crime. Its main work is the collation, analysis and dissemination of information.


The EUs statistical office. It collects monthly statistical data on asylum and migration.


Though evidence collected in either civil of criminal proceedings in one Member State can be used by authorities in another EU State, the EU is preparing minimum common standards to improve the exchange of evidence.


Immigrants can be exploited by criminals involved in the illegal smuggling of humans. To prevent this the EU is supporting cooperation between law enforcement authorities; aiming to shape a flexible approach to immigration restrictions; and cooperating with countries of origin to eliminate causes of immigration.

Exploitation of women and children

One aim of closer police cooperation is to prevent the exploitation of women and children, and the illegal pornography and sex industries. The STOP programme is aimed at preventing sexual exploitation and disappearance of minors.


The order by a State for a person to leave that States territory. In order to ensure that fundamental rights are protected, the EU is aiming to clarify the circumstances in which expulsion of EU citizens from another EU Member State can legally occur.

External borders

Borders between EU Member States and countries outside the EU. With the removal of the EUs internal borders, security at external borders has been given special emphasis.

Extraditable offences

Offences for which a State may launch extradition proceedings. A 1996 regulation sets out circumstances under which extradition procedures can be initiated within the EU.


An established practice in international law whereby a foreign criminal or accused person is delivered by the State (requested State) in which he or she is found to another State (requesting State) to face criminal proceedings or imprisonment. A political agreement was reached on 11 December 2001 at EU level on a European arrest warrant valid for the entire territory of the European Union, and on the surrender procedures between the Member States. The European arrest warrant came into force on 1 January 2004. The agreement carries through the European Council conclusions of October 1999, in Tampere, which state that the formal extradition procedure should be abolished among the Member States as far as persons are concerned who are fleeing from justice after having been finally sentenced.

Extra-judicial documents

The exchange of extra judicial documents is necessary for judicial cooperation from country to country. A recent regulation requires that the sending and receiving bodies, as well as the languages in which documents will be sent, are specified in each country.

Source: European Commission - Justice and Home Affairs

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