Brussels, 27 March 2013
Europol: The EU hub for support to law enforcement cooperation and training
Today the Commission proposed 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.
The Commission proposes to boost Europol's role as the European law enforcement agency in the following ways:
With the Stockholm Programme, the European Council called on Europol to evolve and "become a hub for information exchange between the law enforcement authorities of the Member States, a service provider and a platform for law enforcement services". It also called for the establishment of European training schemes and exchange programmes for all relevant law enforcement professionals at national and EU level.
Today the Commission adopted:
When the new Regulation has been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, Europol will become responsible for implementing the LETS. The Bramshill site in the United Kingdom - where Cepol is located - is due to be closed in the course of 2014. The British authorities announced that the closure of the site will be handled in such a way that operations at Cepol can continue without any disturbance.
The United Kingdom and Ireland may take part in the adoption and application of the proposed Regulation by notifying the Council in writing that they wish to do so (within three months after the proposed regulation has been presented to the Council). Denmark does not take part in measures pursuant to Title V of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), such as the proposed Regulation.
Link to the proposal
Cecilia Malmström's website
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DG Home Affairs website
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