My proposal on improving the European Law Enforcement Agency Europol was today approved by the Commission. Serious organised crime is becoming more and more advanced, as well as increasingly cross-border, something which the new SOCTA-report clearly shows. The EU needs a well-functioning and cost-efficient agency that is able to support the national authorities in the fight against transnational organised crime, in order to protect the citizens’ safety and the economy. At the same time, it is important to have a thorough parliamentary scrutiny and tough rules on data protection.
This proposal is aimed at making the Europol more efficient, more democratic and also at further raising the security for personal data. We also needed to adapt Europol to the Lisbon Treaty, taking the opportunity to place Europol and the European Police Academy CEPOL under one roof, thereby preventing parallel structures. The democracy will increase by giving the European Parliament and national parliaments a greater oversight of the activities of the Europol, with the possibility to review the practices. How this oversight will be designed is up to the European Parliament to decide on.
I was just now in the European Parliament to present this proposal to the LIBE Committee, and to answer questions. Our hope is that the decision on these reforms will be taken before the end of the mandate for the Parliament in spring 2014.