Hellenic Police and Europol sign operational plan to combat migrant smuggling

03 June 2016
Press Release
Press Release/News

On 3 June 2016, Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, welcomed the Chief of the Hellenic Police, Lt. Gen Konstaninos Tsouvalas, to Europol's headquarters in The Hague. During the visit, Europol and the Hellenic Police signed the Greek National Operational Plan, whose main objective is to target organised migration crime in Greece. This high-level visit reaffirmed Europol and the Hellenic Police's mutual commitment and provides a robust framework for the exchange of information between both parties.

Europol welcomes the work on the Greek National Operational Plan as an important milestone in the handling of the migrant crisis. The Operational Plan will reinforce the coordination of the actions undertaken by the Greek law enforcement authorities (Hellenic Police and Hellenic Coast Guards), Europol and other competent EU Agencies and international organisations (Frontex, Eurojust, INTERPOL) in combatting migrant smuggling. It formalises Europol's operational activities in the migration hotspots, under the full authority and legal framework of the Greek authorities.

The support to Greece in the hotspots and on the mainland is a top priority for Europol which is currently implementing the necessary measures to deliver on the mandate given to it by the European Council, following the recent terrorist attacks in Europe, to reinforce the secondary security controls in the migration hotspots. The primary purpose of these enhanced controls is to identify movements of suspected terrorists, but they will also support Europol's ongoing efforts to disrupt organised crime networks involved in migrant smuggling.

Europol's Management Board recently approved the recruitment of up to 200 counter-terrorist and other investigators for deployment to migration hotspots in Greece and other countries. Up to 50 of these 'guest officers' will be deployed on rotation at key points on the external border of the EU to strengthen the security checks on the inward flows of migrants, in order to identify suspected terrorists and criminals.

After the signing of the agreement, the Hellenic delegation received a tour of Europol's Operations Department. They visited the European Migrant Smuggling Centre, the European Counter Terrorism Centre and the European Cybercrime Centre.