The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 28, 2006

Message to the Senate of the United States


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance between the United States of America and the European Union (EU), signed on June 25, 2003, at Washington, together with 25 bilateral instruments that subsequently were signed between the United States and each European Union Member State in order to implement the Agreement with the EU, and an explanatory note that is an integral part of the Agreement. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Agreement and bilateral instruments.

A parallel agreement with the European Union on extradition, together with bilateral instruments, will be transmitted to the Senate separately. These two agreements are the first law enforcement agreements concluded between the United States and the European Union. Together they serve to modernize and expand in important respects the law enforcement relationships between the United States and the 25 EU Member States, as well as formalize and strengthen the institutional framework for law enforcement relations between the United States and the European Union itself.

The U.S.-EU Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement contains several innovations that should prove of value to U.S. prosecutors and investigators, including in counterterrorism cases. The Agreement creates an improved mechanism for obtaining bank infor-mation from an EU Member State, elaborates legal frameworks for the use of new techniques such as joint investigative teams, and establishes a comprehensive and uniform framework for limitations on the use of personal and other data. The Agreement includes a non-derogation provision making clear that it is without prejudice to the ability of the United States or an EU Member State to refuse assistance where doing so would prejudice its sovereignty, security, public, or other essential interests.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Agreement and bilateral instruments.



September 27, 2006.

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