Select Committee on European Union Fifth Report


  Sub-Committee F (Social Affairs, Education and Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union is conducting an inquiry into proposals to amend the Europol Convention. On 2 July the Danish Presidency tabled a draft protocol to the Convention designed to strengthen support for Europol and for the operational support it provides to national police authorities; and to provide a greater role for the European Parliament in the management of Europol.

This initiative follows on from previous proposals to amend the Convention, most recently a Communication from the European Commission on the question of democratic control of Europol (COM(2002) 95 final).

The main proposals in the draft Protocol are:

  • revision of Europol's remit to focus on serious international crime rather than as at present specified crimes, such as terrorism and unlawful drug trafficking

  • confirmation of Europol's role as the European contact point for action against counterfeiting the Euro

  • removal of the reference to the Europol National Units as the sole liaison bodies between Europol and national authorities

  • enabling competent authorities (in addition to the national units) to query the Europol Information System

  • enabling Europol to process data as background information and not just in connection with a specific work file

  • provision for Joint Supervisory Board and Europol annual reports to be sent to the European Parliament as well as to the Council

  • arrangements for the appearance of the Director of Europol before the European Parliament

  • reference to the possibility of a joint committee being set up by the European Parliament in co-operation with national parliaments

  • an obligation to consult the European Parliament on certain specified matters

  • provisions on right of access to Europol documents

The Sub-Committee would welcome evidence on any of these aspects of the proposals and related issues, including the extent of Europol's current role and its future development. It will look particularly carefully at those aspects of the proposals that:

  • are designed to increase Europol's effectiveness
  • raise data protection issues
    • increase oversight by the European Parliament and national parliaments

The Sub-Committee plans to hold oral evidence sessions in the autumn with a view to completing its report by the end of the year.

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