Today the European Parliament adopted the new regulation for Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency. In a vote in Strasbourg, members of the European Parliament voted on updated powers that will enable Europol to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other serious and organised forms of crime. MEPs have ensured that Europol's new powers will go hand in hand with increased data protection safeguards, democratic control and parliamentary scrutiny. The regulation will enter into force on 1 May 2017.
Europol’s Director Rob Wainwright made the following statement: "Europol welcomes the final adoption of the new regulation by the European Parliament, and thanks the Parliament, Council of the European Union and the European Commission for placing their trust in a reformed and stronger Europol. The new powers will improve Europol’s ability to support EU Member States in the fight against terrorism and organised crime at a time when Europe faces many challenging security threats.”
The new EU regulation will make it easier for Europol to set up specialised units to respond immediately to emerging terrorist threats and other forms of serious and organised crime. It also includes clear rules for existing units or centres such as the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) and the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU), both hosted at Europol. The new regulation will enhance Europol's mandate to ensure that it is fully equipped to counter the increase in cross-border crimes and terrorist threats. The new powers will also improve Europol’s ability to act as the EU’s information hub in the fight against terrorism and serious organised crime.
Europol is the EU's law enforcement agency, assisting national authorities by exchanging information, intelligence analyses and threats assessments. The agency deals with terrorism and international crime such as cybercrime, drug smuggling and people trafficking. Europol, which has 1 000 staff members, has its headquarters in The Hague in the Netherlands.