Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Ninth Report


Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union is conducting an inquiry into Europol, the European Police Office. Europol was established by an international Convention signed in 1995 and has been operational since 1 July 1999. Its task is to facilitate the exchange of information between Member States' law enforcement authorities and to support Member States' investigations by providing high quality analysis of criminal intelligence.

At present, Europol is governed by the 1995 Convention, and by three Protocols which entered into force in the spring of 2007. In December 2006 the Commission published a proposal to replace the Europol Convention and its Protocols by a Council Decision establishing Europol as an Agency under the EU Treaty. While changing Europol's legal framework, the Council Decision is also designed to strengthen Europol and the operational support it provides to national police authorities. The negotiations on the Council Decision establishing the European Police Office have been completed and the proposal is likely to be agreed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 17/18 April 2008.

This inquiry will examine Europol's current role and operating environment and how these will change under the new legal framework and the under the wider process designed to modernise Europol's structures and improve its functioning and effectiveness.

The Sub-Committee would welcome evidence on any aspects of Europol's current role and its future development. We would particularly welcome comments on:

  • Strategic Coordination

    the development of an EU Architecture of Internal Security,[94] intelligence led policing and the European Criminal Intelligence Model

    Europol's relationship with other EU/EC Agencies such as Eurojust and Frontex, and the extent to which there is cooperation between these Agencies, especially in the preparation of the Organised Crime Threat Assessment (OCTA), the Terrorism Situation Report (TSR), and Analysis Work Files (AWF);

    the distribution of tasks between Europol and the Police Chiefs' Task Force (PCTF) and other EU level institutions;

  • Bilateral information exchange

    the extent to which Europol Liaison Officers (ELOs) make use of Europol's information exchange network rather than operating bilaterally;
  • Combating Organised Crime

    the extent to which Member States' law enforcement agencies are involved in Europol's organised crime tasks, including the Europol National Unit (ENU);

    Europol's role in training

  • Combating Terrorism

    the extent to which Member States' law enforcement agencies are involved in Europol's counter-terrorism tasks, including the Europol National Unit (ENU);
  • Europol's Information Exchange Network

    the use that is being made by Member States' law enforcement authorities of the Europol Information System;
  • Europol's Information Exchange with Third Parties

    the extent to which information is exchanged by Europol with third countries with which it has cooperation agreements;
  • Governance and Methodologies

    the extent to which Europol's objectives and governance structure are open to wide interpretation;

    the value attributed by Member States and other customers to the OCTA, TSR, AWF and other products and services offered by Europol;

    the inspection mechanisms used by the Joint Supervisory Body on data protection for ensuring quality of data and lawful use of data;

    Definition of analysis in the Europol framework;

  • how the provisions of the Council Decision amend the current rules and have the potential to change all of these matters.

94   Architecture of Internal Security, Council Secretariat document 9596/1/06 JAI 271, approved by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 1-2 June 2006. Back

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