Europol Review 2014


Europe faces increasingly challenging organised crime and terrorist threats

These threats require an effective and timely law enforcement response. Europol provides a crucial element of that response whenever cross-border cooperation is needed. The increasingly international nature of terrorism and serious crime and the growing recognition of Europol’s role are reflected in the significant increase in cases supported by Europol, and of messages exchanged via Europol channels, in 2014.

A highlight of our casework was Operation Archimedes, the largest operation ever coordinated in Europe, supported by the European Coordination Centre hosted by Europol. Interventions took place from 15 to 23 September 2014 in hundreds of locations including airports, border crossings, ports and other crime hotspots in cities across the EU, all of which had featured in Europol’s EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA). The operation resulted in more than 1000 arrests through Europe. The unprecedented scale of the operation delivered a clear message: the international law enforcement community is determined to bring down organised criminal groups and protect the safety and wellbeing of our society.

The attacks in Paris in January 2015 were stark illustration of the terrorist threat and of inter-related factors such as violent extremist propaganda on the Internet and weapons trafficking.

Just as troubling are the daily acts of violence, blackmail, corruption and fraud carried out by an estimated 3600 organised crime groups across the EU, causing immense economic and emotional harm in their relentless pursuit of illicit profits.

Reflecting broader trends of globalisation, terrorist and organised crime activities increasingly go beyond the borders of a single country, and often reach into cyberspace as well.

In the field of counter-terrorism, the focus was on the growing phenomenon of ‘foreign fighters’: EU residents travelling to conflict zones in Syria and elsewhere before returning to the EU radicalised by their conflict experience, increasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks being committed in the EU. A dedicated project on this phenomenon was established in April 2014 which was gaining increasing support from EU Member States and operational partners as the year drew to a close.

As well as supporting operational activities, Europol continues to look ahead, advising on emerging crime threats and anticipating the threats of the future. The European Police Chiefs Convention hosted by Europol in September 2014 gathered more than 300 high-level officials, who focused on issues ranging from terrorism to facilitated illegal immigration. Earlier in the year Europol hosted the inaugural Serious Organised Crime Futures Forum, bringing together law enforcement, academics and industry experts to discuss how societal and technological trends will affect the crime landscape.

The Europol Review1, also available in a fully digital version, has a new magazine format which focuses on our major operations, the strategic progress of the organisation and the goals we have set. The content is arranged in thematic sections and reflects the ways in which Europol staff and European law enforcement officers work together to make Europe a safer place.


Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol

  1. The presentation of the Europol review – General report on Europol activities is done in accordance with Article 37(10) c of the Europol Council Decision (Council Decision 2009/371/JHA of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office). The report is submitted to the Council of the European Union for endorsement and the Council forwards it to the European Parliament for information.