Our Thinking

A strategy for security

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

Europol’s vision is to ensure an effective EU response to the threats of serious international and organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism in the EU, by acting as the principal information hub, delivering agile operational support and providing European policing solutions in conjunction with our network of partners.

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

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

Values

Based on the mission and vision, Europol has six values that shape the culture of the organisation:

  1. Service - we treat our colleagues and our cooperation partners in Member States and beyond with diligence, aiming to deliver the best service 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 out 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 to our specific area and for the organisation and our partners.
  5. Partnership - we build sustainable relations across the law enforcement community and beyond, increasing innovation and knowledge, to provide agile operational support to Member States and cooperation partners.
  6. Diversity - we foster diversity in the workplace and uphold an inclusive corporate culture and conditions where all staff members have equal opportunities to develop and contribute to the success of the organisation.

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.

Strategy and Priorities

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

Europol’s strategic priorities are to:

  1. be the EU criminal information hub;
  2. deliver agile operational support;
  3. be a platform for European policing solutions;
  4. be at the forefront of law enforcement innovation and research;
  5. be the model EU law enforcement organisation.

Strategic priority 1. Be the EU criminal information hub

Europol has established itself as the EU criminal information hub and will continue to enhance the value of its network by providing Member States with access to a growing number of partners and sources of information. Europol will further evolve from collecting to connecting information; in the coming years, the focus will be on reinforcing this position by advancing Europol’s information management architecture and rapidly embracing new methods and technologies as they become available. Europol will also work with the relevant EU agencies, the European Commission and the Member States to implement its roadmaps related to travel intelligence and to EU systems interoperability.

Strategic priority 2. Deliver agile operational support

To increase operational impact by dismantling terrorist networks and increasingly poly-criminal organised crime groups, Europol will develop an agile operational support model, building on its existing experience of the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), Joint Operational Team (JOT) Mare, Counter Terrorism Joint Liaison Team (CT-JLT), High-Value Targets (HVTs), Operational Taskforces (OTFs) and guest officer deployments.

Enhanced analytical capabilities will be at the core of Europol’s operational support. In addition, Europol will develop a complete operational support model to identify, organise, coordinate and deploy multi-disciplinary teams to work with Member States and support priority investigations against high-value targets. Europol will also further enhance its rapid response to terrorist attacks and other major crime incidents.

The most dangerous organised crime groups corrupt and infiltrate the public sector and carry out complex money laundering schemes to conceal their illegal profits. To tackle these top criminals successfully, Europol will put more focus on investigating high-value targets, financial investigations and asset recovery.

Strategic priority 3. Be a platform for European policing solutions

Europol will act as the broker of law enforcement knowledge, providing a hub through which Member States can connect and benefit from each other’s and Europol’s expertise and training capabilities. Europol’s evolution from a systems-based organisation to a specialised law enforcement service provider by progressively advancing from processing to producing knowledge will be pursued.

Europol will bring together Member States to drive the development of EU analysis standards and strengthen analysis for law enforcement in the EU. The aim will be to deliver, in close cooperation with Member States, analytical products and services with actionable intelligence, which are recognised and can be used by Member States’ jurisdictions.

Strategic priority 4. Be at the forefront of law enforcement innovation and research

The advent of new technologies and the increasing sophistication of crime, the exponential growth of data types and volume are major challenges for today’s law enforcement community. Making incremental changes to existing solutions is not enough; to remain relevant and effective, it is necessary to invest in and actively pursue new solutions. Europol will become a central contact point for law enforcement innovation, bringing together the most suitable partners to build a network of innovation, tailored to the needs of Member States’ law enforcement agencies. New methods to leverage the full value of available data and the application of innovative business models in law enforcement will be co-developed, tested and hosted by Europol for the benefit of the Member States.

Strategic priority 5. Be the model EU law enforcement organisation

Europol will work closely with all its partners to develop synergies ensuring the most efficient and effective use of its resources. The agency will maintain the highest governance standards while remaining accountable to its EU law enforcement partners and EU institutional stakeholders, ensuring that our work is visible to EU citizens at large.

Europol will create the conditions for a culture of innovation by nurturing an environment of transparency, communication, creativity and diversity, where staff engagement, motivation and well-being are key.

As a public organisation, Europol adheres to the highest accountability and governance standards.

Work Programmes and Consolidated Annual Activity Reports (CAAR)

The strategic objectives will be fully reflected and further detailed in Europol’s multi-annual Programming Document, the current issue of which covers 2019-2021.

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.