The European Arrest Warrant (EAW), currently operational in 28 Member States, is generally recognised as a successful criminal justice instrument, based on mutual recognition.
EU Member States have been extraditing suspects and sentenced persons to each other for many decades, on the basis of bilateral and multilateral conventions. Those arrangements were, however, slow and thwarted by exceptions based on national sovereignty. As EU integration has progressed, the Member States have agreed to base their cooperation on the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions, moving away from a system in which decisions on extradition were ultimately taken at government level. This principle was implemented by the Council framework decision on the European Arrest Warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (FD EAW) adopted in 2002, on the basis of rapid negotiations following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.