[check against delivery]

Strasbourg, 11 May 2016

Honourable Members,

Let me start by thanking the Rapporteur, Mr Diaz De Mera, who has done a great job to adopt this critical piece of legislation.

After three years of tireless work to reach this compromise, I can congratulate him for the result, and express my thanks for our cooperation.

What makes this Regulation critical is that our fight against terrorism is at the very top of the political agenda.

82% of European citizens tell us in a very recent survey, that they want the EU to intervene more on terrorism than now.

Once this Regulation is applied in Spring 2017, it will give us right framework for this to happen.

First of all, by making Europol an information hub for law enforcement in the Union. Paris and Brussels showed this very clearly. Information exchange is our Achilles heel.

Members States have to coordinate more closely and effectively. Complex investigations have to be supported by sound analysis.

Europol can have clear added value in this respect.

The other major improvement is the democratic scrutiny by this Parliament.

Our new rules will ensure this accountability on Europol's activities together with national parliaments.

The protection of personal data will also be strengthened.

I consider therefore the outcome of our work on this file to be positive.

Europol's legal basis has been aligned to the Treaty of Lisbon, and the objectives of the Europol reform – to make Europol more accountable, effective and efficient – have been fully achieved. 

Nonetheless, I would like to refer you to the two declarations that the Commission made in Council already, which I would like to highlight today as well. 

The first concerns the governance of Europol.

We remain convinced of the benefits of establishing an Executive Board as part of the governance structure of Europol and other agencies.

We will keep following the situation on the governance of Europol and within the next two years, we will examine whether further proposals on this point are necessary.

The second concerns the need to ensure coherence between the Europol regulation and the Data Protection reform package.

In light of our recent adoption of the new EU data protection rules, and the upcoming review of the data protection rules for EU institutions and agencies, we need to ensure consistency and avoid duplication.

It should be clear therefore, that functions exercised by Cooperation Board set up in this Regulation, will in the future be exercised by the newly created European Data Protection Board.

Honourable Members,

I welcome today's important step and I look forward to hear your interventions.

Thank you.