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International cooperation in the field of justice and fundamental rights

International justice cooperation, strategic partnerships, justice cooperation in EU enlargement and neighbourhood policy.

External policy objectives

International cooperation is vital for providing effective responses to transnational crime, promoting EU values and protecting EU consumers.

The Treaty on European Union obliges the EU to uphold and promote its values and to contribute to the protection of human rights in its relations with the wider world.

The external policy objectives in the field of justice and fundamental rights:

1. Countries applying to join the EU, have to align their legislation with that of the EU, and rule of law and fundamental rights have become the centre of attention of the EU when assessing any country's readiness to join. 

2. The close economic links with non-EU countries and increasingly cross border dimension of crime give a strong role to the EU for improving judicial cooperation in both civil and criminal matters with third countries.

3. While upholding fundamental rights and values in the EU, the EU also promotes good governance and the rule of law in third countries.

Instruments to reach these objectives

Judicial cooperation works in practice through the use of international instruments (UN or Council of Europe) or dedicated bilateral agreements in force between the EU and third countries. 

Cooperation in the justice field is also part of the EU's enlargement and neighbourhood policies and close monitoring of progress is made via dedicated meetings taking place under the political umbrella of each bilateral Association Council.