#Europol given new powers against #terrorism

Europol, as the EU’s law enforcement agency, helps member states fight terrorism and international crime. It is due to be given additional powers to help it to tackle terrorism better. Parliament and the Council already reached a deal on this in November, and it will be formally approved today (11 May) after MEPs debate the plans.

New powers

New powers for Europol  would allow the agency to set up specialized units more easily so that it can respond faster to emerging threats. They would also set clear rules for centres, such as the European Counter Terrorism Centre that started on 1 January 2016. In some cases Europol would also be allowed to exchange information with private companies. For example, Europol would be able to ask Facebook to remove pages run by Islamic State.

These new powers would be accompanied by strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight rules.

Negotiators from the Parliament and the Council reached a deal on this on 26 November 2015, which was endorsed by Parliament’s civil liberties committee on 30 November. However, before the agreement can enter into force, it will still need to be formally approved by Parliament.

MEPs debate the deal on Wednesday 11 May from 9h CET and vote on it at about 12h30 CET. Follow it live online.


Europol is the EU’s law-enforcement agency, assisting national authorities by exchanging information, intelligence analyses and threats assessments. It was launched in 1999 and became an EU agency in 2010.

The agency deals with terrorism and international crime such as cybercrime, drug smuggling and people trafficking and carries out more than 18,000 international investigations a year. However, it does not have any powers to arrest suspects or carry out investigations in member states.

Europol, which boasts 900 staff members, has its headquarters in The Hague in the Netherlands.

Morten Helveg Petersen, ALDE shadow rapporteur, said: “I welcome the new, better and more democratic Europol regulation. I am convinced that, from next year, Europol will be better equipped to fulfill its mandate of supporting member states in the fight against serious and organized crime and terrorism.

“As the shadow rapporteur for the ALDE Group, I would have liked to give Europol a real European investigative capacity, so they could initiate their own investigations and receive data from Member States on a regular and systematic basis.

“I urge member states to enhance their commitment to cooperate with Europol and the sharing of information between the states, instead of waiting for another terrorist attack to do it.  It is crucial in the fight against terrorism.”

Next steps

If adopted, the regulation will enter into force on 1 May 2017.

More information


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Category: A Frontpage, EU, EU, European Parliament, Plenary, Radicalization, Terrorism

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