On June 5, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Luis Amado of Portugal signed the Protocols of Exchange of Instruments of Ratification of our bilateral Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with Portugal.
In 2003, the United States and the European Union signed agreements modernizing transatlantic law enforcement cooperation in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance (i.e., obtaining evidence for judicial proceedings). The United States subsequently signed bilateral instruments with all EU member states to effect the changes agreed with the EU itself. In the fall of 2008, the U.S. Senate gave advice and consent to, and the President ratified, the entire set of agreements. The Republic of Portugal has completed its domestic approval procedures, so an exchange of instruments of ratification – the final bilateral step in the process – now may take place. Fifteen such exchanges of instruments of ratification with other EU member states have occurred in the last several weeks. Actual entry into force of the agreements with Portugal, however, can only happen after the umbrella agreements with the EU enter into force, a step awaiting action by parliaments in two EU member states.