Europol & the EU

Europol Headquarters, The Hague, Netherlands

Europol was designed and set up to operate in partnership. Our partners range from law enforcement agencies to government departments and private sector companies.

Europol delivers specialist capabilities, intelligence and operational coordination services to the law enforcement community. Our experts also assist with a wide range of operational activities.

The activities of organised crime networks are now more complex, diverse and international than they have ever been. Terrorists are increasingly inspired by events far from home, and conspire across borders to prepare attacks. Internet-facilitated organised crime will continue to increase in line with uptake of broadband internet and mobile devices, finding new offenders and victims in areas of the world where internet access was previously limited. Despite the best efforts of local and national law enforcement agencies throughout the EU, they cannot succeed in isolation. A multilateral approach is indispensable and Europol’s crucial role is increasingly recognised.

Europol’s core activity is to provide EU law enforcement authorities with 24/7 operational support. In 2011, we did this for more than 13 500 cross border cases - an increase of over 17% compared to 2010. Close cooperation with our international law enforcement partners has resulted in many successful operations and organised crime networks being dismantled.

Europol played an active role in the production of the EU’s Internal Security Strategy and is keen to contribute to its successful implementation.

The EU Internal Security Strategy envisages a central role for the European Police Office. This gives Europol the opportunity to better fulfil its mandate of providing operational support to fight organised crime and terrorism.

At the heart of the Strategy is the idea of an agreed European security model based on intelligence-led policing. This will help to define common EU priorities and better understand the threats to the EU’s internal security. Intelligence-led policing has been a key and underlying concept in all of Europol’s strategic assessment activities.

January 2012 saw the implementation of the new EU policy cycle for serious international and organised crime, which will give practical effect to the Strategy’s aspirations and in which Europol fulfils an important role. EU Member States and partner EU agencies have started to implement multilateral operational action plans to tackle these priority crime areas.

Disrupting international criminal and terrorist networks remains Europol's core business and most important task. Europol will continue to support Member States in their investigations, operational activities and projects to tackle these threats.