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Boosting the role of Europol

27 March 2013

Europol's headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Photo: Europol

The European Commission is proposing to make the EU law enforcement Agency (Europol) more effective at collecting information, analysing it and sharing these analyses with the Member States. This will let Europol provide more concrete and targeted support to the national law enforcement authorities in their cross-border cooperation and investigations. At the same time, the proposal increases Europol's accountability to the European Parliament and the national Parliaments and strengthens the protection of personal data.

The European Commission is proposing to make the EU law enforcement Agency (Europol) more effective at collecting information, analysing it and sharing these analyses with the Member States. This will let Europol provide more concrete and targeted support to the national law enforcement authorities in their cross-border cooperation and investigations. At the same time, the proposal increases Europol's accountability to the European Parliament and the national Parliaments and strengthens the protection of personal data.

The new Regulation also reinforces the link between training and support to operational cooperation, by merging the European Police College (Cepol) within Europol and by making Europol responsible for joint training and exchange programmes for police and other law enforcement personnel.

"The EU needs an effective and cost-efficient agency to help Member States fight serious cross-border crime and terrorism, ensuring the safety and security of citizens and protecting the licit economy. Our proposals aim to enhance Europol's role as a European law enforcement agency, to reinforce personal data protection and increase Europol's accountability to the European Parliament and national parliaments and to ensure the quality and coherence of the training offered to frontline officers", said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for Administration and Interinstitutional Affairs, said: "During difficult economic and budgetary times, all EU institutions and agencies have to make efforts to streamline their operations. This reform of Europol shows that it is possible to be cost-efficient while increasing effectiveness at the same time. It is a strong start for the EU's plans to improve the functioning of its decentralised agencies."

The activities of organised crime networks are more complex, diverse and internationally spread than ever before. Serious crimes such as trafficking in human beings, drugs, and firearms, corruption, payment card fraud, cybercrime, and terrorist offences cause severe harm to victims, inflict economic damage on a large scale and undermine citizens' sense of security. Smooth cross-border cooperation, efficient use of information and analysis, and appropriate operational support to investigations are crucial for Member States to adequately respond to these threats.

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A longer press release is available, along with more questions and answers. The entire proposal can be found here.