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Cooperation between special intervention units

This Decision aims to improve cooperation between Member States’ special intervention units in man-made crisis situations that present a serious and direct physical threat. The Decision establishes the general rules and conditions for the provision of assistance by these units to any requesting Member State.

ACT

Council Decision 2008/617/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the improvement of cooperation between the special intervention units of the Member States of the European Union in crisis situations.

SUMMARY

This Decision sets out the general rules and conditions for the cooperation of Member States’ special intervention units* in situations of crisis*. Cooperation is based on the provision of assistance and/or on the carrying out of operations on the territory of the requesting Member State. The details for implementing the practical aspects of the cooperation are settled between the requesting and the requested Member States directly.

The competent authority* of a Member State processes the request for assistance from another Member State’s special intervention unit. The request must specify the nature of and the operational necessity for the assistance. The requested Member State’s competent authority may either accept or refuse the request, or propose assistance in another form.

The assistance provided may consist of:

  • equipment;
  • expertise;
  • carrying out operations on the requesting Member State’s territory.

When carrying out operations, the requested Member State’s special intervention unit has a supporting role. It is to provide the assistance under the responsibility, authority and direction of the requesting Member State. While the operations fall under the jurisdiction of the requesting Member State, the requested Member State’s officers may act only within the limits of their powers as defined by their national law.

The Member States taking part in this form of cooperation must ensure that experience, expertise and information on managing crisis situations are exchanged. To this end, the special intervention units are to hold meetings and joint trainings and exercises. These may be funded from certain Community financial programmes. Hence, the responsibility for the organisation of these events lies with the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. All operational costs however, including those of the requested Member State’s special intervention unit, are to be borne by the requesting Member State, unless the cooperating Member States decide otherwise.

An up-to-date list of the Member States’ competent authorities is maintained by the General Secretariat of the Council.

Background

The Council Declaration on Solidarity against Terrorism of 25 March 2004 established the basis for cooperation between Member States in the event of terrorist attacks.

Council Decision 2008/617/JHA complements Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime, whose article 18 lays down the obligation for Member States to provide one another assistance in connection with mass gatherings, disasters and serious accidents.

Key terms used in the act

  • Special intervention unit: any law enforcement unit of a Member State that is specialised in the control of a crisis situation.
  • Crisis situation: any situation in which the competent authorities of a Member State have reasonable grounds to believe that there is a criminal offence presenting a serious direct physical threat to persons, property, infrastructure or institutions of that Member State.
  • Competent authority: the national authority that may make requests and give authorisations regarding the deployment of the special intervention units.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2008/617/JHA

23.12.2008

-

OJ L 210 of 6.8.2008

Last updated: 23.09.2008
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