Our Thinking

Working towards a strategy for safety

As the EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol has a mission to support its Member States in preventing and combatting all forms of serious international organised crime and terrorism.

Europol’s vision is to contribute to a safer Europe by providing a unique and evolving set of operational products and services to support law-enforcement authorities in all Member States.

Europol's Strategy for 2016 to 2020 is the frame of reference for its daily operations and for supporting EU law enforcement cooperation.

In pursuit of this ambitious strategy, Europol is addressing the most important challenges facing it, and is exploiting all opportunities to make further progress and deliver tangible benefits.


Europol is confident that it will fulfil its commitments through the efforts of its staff.
In line with its mission and vision, it attaches importance to five values that best characterise its culture and the work of its people:

  1. Service - We treat our colleagues and our cooperation partners in Member States and beyond with diligence, aiming to deliver the best possible, in order to address their needs effectively and efficiently.
  2. Integrity - We uphold strong moral principles and do the right thing in a reliable way. Our Code of Conduct sets the framework for our ethics.
  3. Accountability - We accept responsibility for our proposals, actions, and decisions, and we are willing to align our behaviour with the needs, priorities and goals of the organisation.
  4. Initiative - We continuously strive to improve performance by doing or promoting new things relevant for our specific area and for the organisation and our partners.
  5. Teamwork - We build good working relationships and cooperation in an open-minded manner, within and across the boundaries of our teams, organisation and cultures at Europol.

These values underline the agency’s commitment to the EU public service principles.

Europol’s Values provide the basis for Europol’s Ethics which are founded on the Europol Code of Conduct  and specific internal guidance to all Europol staff on avoiding conflict of interest, complemented by whistle-blowing arrangements to uphold Europol’s high governance standards.

Goals and vision

Europol’s Strategy guides it in implementing its main goals and vision, and in delivering a unique set of operational services to the EU.

Europol’s three main goals are:

1. To become the EU information hub on crime, providing information-sharing capabilities to law enforcement authorities in the Member States

Cooperation between Member States in identifying common information gaps and investigation priorities is essential and will be strengthened. Europol’s unique capabilities provide the opportunity for it to:

  • grow as the EU’s central information hub on crime
  • address these information gaps and investigation priorities and to build an information platform capable of facilitating a more effective operational response to key security threats. Further development of its Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) will bring Europol closer to the front line of law enforcement.

2. To provide the most effective operational support and expertise to investigations in Member States by developing and employing a comprehensive portfolio of services

Europol will provide high-quality operational support to investigations in Member States in three key priority areas aligned with the European Agenda on Security:

  • serious and organised crime
  • cybercrime
  • terrorism.

In order to achieve the greatest impact and maximum operational results, Europol will dynamically adjust its operational delivery models and how it uses human resources.

3. To become an efficient organisation with effective governance arrangements and a positive reputation

Given the importance of operating within budgetary constraints, Europol aims to achieve the highest levels of effectiveness and efficiency in each of the following areas:

  • human resources
  • finance
  • the management of facilities
  • information and communications technology.

As a public organisation, Europol will continue to adhere to the highest accountability and governance standards, and strive to achieve further gains in efficiency.

Work Programmes and Consolidated Annual Activity Reports (CAAR)

Europol aims to achieve each of the aforementioned goals by 2020 by working towards a number of multi-annual strategic objectives, each of which will implement different aspects of the overall goals. The strategic objectives will be fully reflected and further detailed in Europol’s multi-annual Programming Document, the current issue of which covers 2017-2019.

Implementation of the Strategy will be monitored via the performance-management and reporting mechanisms established in the multi-annual Programming Document and, through the progress reports that are submitted to the Management Board twice per year.

Looking ahead

The Lisbon Treaty, the Europol Council Decision governing the agency, and the agency’s own strategy and improved capabilities have helped to enhance Europol’s position on the EU stage.

Europol has developed into a unique partner for EU law enforcement agencies, and is an important contributor to the EU decision-making process.

Europol is always looking out for opportunities to make the fight against organised crime and terrorism more effective.

In recent years, Europol has launched dedicated centres that focus on specific threats facing the EU:

EC3 was set up in 2013; EMSC, ECTC and IPC3, in 2016.In the same year, FIU.net, a decentralised and sophisticated computer network supporting the financial intelligence units (FIUs) in the EU in their fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism — became part of Europol’s operations, a move that has contributed to further closing the financial intelligence gap and creating more synergy among all the communities that handle financial intelligence in the Member States.

On 1 May 2017, a new Europol regulation entered into force that enabled the agency to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other serious and organised forms of crime. Europol’s new powers were accompanied with increased data protection safeguards, democratic control and parliamentary scrutiny.

The regulation makes it easier for Europol to set up specialised units to respond swiftly to emerging terrorist threats and other forms of serious and organised crime.