The European Union’s law enforcement agency which assists EU Member States’ police forces in improving their cooperation on the prevention and fight against the most serious forms of international crime, such as terrorism, drug trafficking and smuggling of migrants , focusing on the targeting of criminal organisations.
1. The establishment of the European Police Office was agreed to in the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) that came into effect in November 1993. The agency started limited operations on 3 January 1994, as the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU). The Europol Convention was signed on 26 July 1995, and came into force in October 1998 after being ratified by all EU Member States. Europol commenced its full activities on 1 July 1999. Europol came under the European Union's competence with the Lisbon Treaty, and the Convention was replaced by a Council Decision in 2009.It was reformed as a full EU agency on 1 January 2010.
2. Europol which is based in The Hague serves as an European Union centre of expertise, providing a central platform for law enforcement experts from the European Union countries.
3. Europol has no executive powers. Europol officers are not entitled to conduct investigations in the EU Member States nor do they have direct powers of arrest; they support EU law enforcement colleagues by gathering, analysing and disseminating information and coordinating operations.