The Hague programme: strengthening freedom, security, and justice in the European Union (2005-9)
In the Hague programme accepted on 4/5 November 2004 the European Council reaffirmed the priority it attaches to the development of an area of freedom, security, and justice. Implementing the principle of mutual recognition of penal-judicial decisions should be made easier by the application of criminal regulations and especially so in serious offence areas with an international dimension. Moreover, the European Council considered that it requires the international exchange of information about criminal prosecutions to improve. As an innovative concept the principle of availability was introduced, under which the criminal prosecuting authorities of a member state should be able to perform their duties widely unhindered, since all useful information available to criminal prosecuting authorities in other member states would be made universally accessible.