Frequently asked questions

General Information

  • No. Europol has no executive powers.

    The European Police Office is a support service for the law enforcement agencies of the EU Member States. This means that Europol officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without the approval of national authorities. However, the support provided by Europol consists of tools that can contribute to the executive measures carried out by the relevant national authorities.

  • Europol supports the law enforcement activities of the Member States by:

    • facilitating the exchange of information between Europol and Europol Liaison Officers (ELOs). These ELOs are seconded to Europol by the Member States as representatives of their national law enforcement agencies, thus they are not under the command of Europol and its Director as such. Furthermore, they act in accordance with their national law.
    • providing operational analysis and support to Member States’ operations;
    • providing expertise and technical support for investigations and operations carried out within the EU, under the
    • supervision and the legal responsibility of the Member States;
    • generating strategic reports (e.g. threat assessments) and crime analysis on the basis of information and intelligence supplied by Member States or gathered from other sources.
  • Yes, Europol only acts on request at present. However, Article 7 of the Europol Council Decision, allows Europol to request the competent authorities of the Member States to investigate.

  • The Justice and Home Affairs Council adopted the Council decision of 27 March 2000 (amended by the Council decision of 6 December 2001 and the Council decision of 13 June 2002) which authorises the Director of Europol to enter into negotiations on co-operation agreements with third States and non-EU related bodies.

    There are two types of co-operation agreements that can be signed. Strategic agreements are limited to the exchange of non-personal data, which means strategic and technical data. Operational agreements include the possibility to exchange personal data, which means data relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.