Police cooperation: MEPs approve new powers for Europol to fight terrorism
The EU police agency Europol will soon be able to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other criminal offences and respond faster to threats, thanks to new governance rules approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new powers come with strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight tools.
The draft rules, agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators in November last year, will strengthen Europol's mandate to ensure that it is fully equipped to counter the rise in cross-border crimes and terrorist threats, in particular by making it easier for it to set up specialised units to respond immediately to emerging threats. The rules will also include clear rules for existing units or centres such as European Counter Terrorism Centre, which started work on 1 January this year.
"The new rules for Europol are a powerful legislative tool that will help to enhance security for European citizens", said Parliament's lead MEP Agustín Díaz de Mera (EPP, ES), in the debate ahead of the vote.
Removing online terrorist propaganda faster
Europol will in some cases be able to exchange information directly with private entities, such as firms or NGOs, so as to work faster. For example, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit could contact a social network provider such as Facebook directly to ask that a web page run by ISIS be deleted, thus halting the spread of terrorist propaganda faster.
Closing information gaps
To avoid information gaps in the fight against organised crime and terrorism, the new rules make it the duty of EU member states to provide Europol with the data it needs.
To encourage information sharing, Europol is to report annually to the European Parliament, the Council, Commission and national parliaments on the information provided by individual member states.
Data protection and democratic oversight
MEPs have ensured that Europol's new powers will go hand in hand with stronger data protection safeguards and parliamentary scrutiny. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) will monitor Europol's work and there will be a clear complaints procedure for citizens under EU law.
Europol's work will also be overseen by a Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group, with members from both national parliaments and the European Parliament.
The regulation will enter into force on the 20th day after its publication in the EU Official Journal and take effect as of 1 May 2017.
Latest News from
Questions and answers: the EU budget for external action in the next Multiannual Financial Framework03/06/2020 09:25:00
Together with the new European Recovery Instrument (‘Next Generation EU'), the European Commission is proposing a targeted amendment to its initial proposal for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) adopted in 2018.
Commission launches consultation to seek views on Digital Services Act package02/06/2020 15:25:00
Today the Commission has launched a public consultation on the Digital Services Act, a landmark package announced by President von der Leyen in her political guidelines and in the Commission's Communication “Shaping Europe's Digital Future” of 19 February.
Aviation Safety: Commission adopts new EU Air Safety List02/06/2020 14:33:00
The European Commission today updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union as they do not meet international safety standards.
ESMA Publishes Final Report on Frandt Commercial Terms For Clearing Services02/06/2020 13:25:00
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator has published its final report with technical advice to the European Commission (EC) on the fair, reasonable, non-discriminatory and transparent (FRANDT) commercial terms for the provision of clearing services.
Eurojust steps up the fight against migrant smuggling02/06/2020 11:33:00
To further strengthen the fight against migrant smuggling, Eurojust, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, has launched a new initiative: the Focus Group for Prosecutors on Migrant Smuggling.
US announcement on breaking ties with the World Health Organisation: Statement by the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell02/06/2020 09:25:00
As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the main task for everyone is to save lives and contain and mitigate this pandemic.
Council adopts conclusions on the Afghanistan peace process and future EU support for peace and development in the country01/06/2020 16:33:00
The Council adopted conclusions reaffirming the EU's political commitment to support the people of Afghanistan on their path towards peace, security, stability, democracy, prosperity and self-reliance.
Coronavirus: practical advice for safe travel01/06/2020 15:25:00
After months of lockdown, travel and tourism could soon restart. Discover what the EU recommends to ensure safe journeys.
Questions and Answers: The proposed InvestEU Programme01/06/2020 14:43:00
InvestEU is the EU's proposed flagship investment programme to kick-start the European economy.