Wed. May 18th, 2022

Luxembourg, 5 April 2022

The EU Council today adopted a decision authorising member states to sign, in the interest of the EU, the second additional protocol to the convention on cybercrime of the Council of Europe (Budapest Convention). This protocol will improve cross-border access to electronic evidence to be used in criminal proceedings. It will contribute to the fight against cybercrime and other forms of crime at global level by simplifying cooperation between member states and third-countries, while ensuring a high level of protection for individuals and the compliance with EU data protection standards.

The protocol covers procedures to improve international cooperation between authorities as well as to enhance direct cooperation with providers and entities located in other countries. It also sets out procedures for emergency mutual assistance.

This text will complement the EU framework on access to e-evidence currently being discussed by the EU institutions. Its advantage is its potential to be of application across the globe. Currently, 66 countries are party to the Budapest convention, including 26 member states.

Background and next steps

On 6 June 2019, the Council adopted a mandate authorising the Commission to participate in the Council of Europe negotiations on a second additional protocol to the cybercrime convention. This protocol was adopted by the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe on 17 November 2021 and is envisaged to be opened for signature on 12 May 2022.

The EU cannot sign the protocol as only states can be parties to it. Therefore, member states are authorised to sign the protocol, acting jointly in the interest of the EU. They are encouraged to sign the protocol during the signing ceremony on 12 May, or as soon as possible after that.

The Council also decided today to send to the Parliament for its approval the decision to authorise member states to ratify the protocol.

Source: EU Council