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«Brussels, 27.3.2013 COM(2013) 173 final 2013/0091 (COD) Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the European Union ...»

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EUROPEAN

COMMISSION

Brussels, 27.3.2013

COM(2013) 173 final

2013/0091 (COD)

Proposal for a

REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation and Training

(Europol) and repealing Decisions 2009/371/JHA and 2005/681/JHA

{SWD(2013) 98 final}

{SWD(2013) 99 final} {SWD(2013) 100 final} EN EN

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

1. CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSAL

The European Police Office (Europol) started as an intergovernmental body regulated by a Convention concluded between the Member States, which entered into force in 1999.

By virtue of a Council Decision adopted in 2009, Europol became an EU agency funded by the EU budget.

Europol’s role is to provide support to national law enforcement services’ action and their mutual cooperation in the prevention of and fight against serious crime and terrorism. Europol facilitates the exchange of information between Member States’ law enforcement authorities and provides criminal analysis to help national police forces carry out cross border investigations.

Article 88 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union stipulates that Europol shall be governed by a regulation to be adopted by the ordinary legislative procedure. It also requires the co-legislators to establish procedures for the scrutiny of Europol’s activities by the European Parliament, together with national Parliaments.

The European Police College (CEPOL) was established as an EU agency in 2005, in charge of activities related to the training of law enforcement officers. It aims to facilitate cooperation between national police forces by organising courses with a European policing dimension. It defines common curricula on specific topics, disseminates relevant research and best practice, coordinates an exchange programme for senior police officers and trainers, and may act as a partner in EU grants for specific projects.

The European Council, in “the Stockholm Programme – An Open and Secure Europe Serving and Protecting Citizens”1, called on Europol to evolve and “become a hub for information exchange between the law enforcement authorities of the Member States, a service provider and a platform for law enforcement services”, and called for the establishment of European training schemes and exchange programmes for all relevant law enforcement professionals at national and EU level, with CEPOL playing a key role in ensuring the European dimension.

In its Communication ‘The EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe’2, the Commission identified key challenges, principles and guidelines for dealing with security issues within the EU, and suggested a number of actions involving Europol and CEPOL to address the risks that serious crime and terrorism pose to security.

Over the last decade, the EU has seen an increase in serious and organised crime as well as more diverse patterns in crime.3 Europol’s EU Serious and organised crime threat assessment 2013 (SOCTA 2013) found that “serious and organised crime is an increasingly dynamic and complex phenomenon, and remains a significant threat to the safety and prosperity of the EU.”4 The study also notes that “the effects of globalisation in society and business have also facilitated the emergence of significant new variations in criminal activity, in which criminal networks exploit legislative loopholes, the internet, and conditions associated with the economic crisis to generate illicit profits at low risk.”5 The internet is used to organise and execute criminal activities, serving as a communication tool, a marketplace, recruiting ground OJ C115, 4.5.2010, p. 1.

COM (2010) 673 final.

Europol (2011). EU organized crime threat assessment.

Europol (2013). Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA).

Europol (2013). Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA).

EN EN and financial service. It also facilitates new forms of cybercrime, payment card fraud as well as the distribution of child sexual abuse material.6 Serious crime offences therefore cause increasingly severe harm to victims, inflict economic damage on a large scale and undermine the sense of security without which persons cannot exercise their freedom and individual rights effectively. Crimes like trafficking in human beings,7 in illicit drugs,8 and in firearms,9 financial crimes like corruption,10 fraud11 and money laundering,12 and cybercrime13 not only pose a threat to personal and economic safety of people living in Europe, they also generate vast criminal profits which strengthen the power of criminal networks and deprive public authorities of much needed revenues.

Terrorism remains a major threat to the EU’s security, as societies in Europe are still vulnerable to terrorist attacks.14 Crime is one of the five main concerns of EU citizens.15 Asked what issues the EU institutions should focus on, the fight against crime was mentioned in fourth place.16 In a recent survey most EU internet users expressed high levels of concern about cyber security and cybercrime.17 In this context, EU agencies are needed to effectively and efficiently support law enforcement cooperation, information sharing and training.





The Common Approach on EU decentralised agencies endorsed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission in July 201218 sets out principles for the governance arrangements of agencies such as Europol and CEPOL. The Common Approach also notes that “merging agencies should be considered in cases where their respective tasks are overlapping, where Europol (2011). EU Organized Crime Threat Assessment.

UNOCD (2010) estimates “that there are 140 000 trafficking victims in Europe, generating a gross annual income of US$3 billion for their exploiters. With an average period of exploitation of two years, this would suggest over 70 000 new entries every year. The trend appears to be stable.” According to The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s 2012 annual report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe, drug-induced deaths accounted for 4% of all deaths of Europeans aged 15–39 in 2011 and an estimated 1.4 million Europeans are opioid users.

UNOCD (2010) found that “the value of the documented global authorised trade in firearms has been estimated at approximately US$1.58 billion in 2006, with unrecorded but licit transactions making up another US$100 million or so. The most commonly cited estimate for the size of the illicit market is 10%-20% of the licit market, which would be about US$170 million to US$320 million per annum.” Corruption is estimated to cost the EU economy 120 billion euros per year, see COM (2011) 308 final.

According to Europol’s EU Organized Crime Threat Assessment 2011, organised crime groups derived more than 1.5 billion euros from payment card fraud in 2009.

According to a UNODC estimate, global criminal proceeds (including tax evasion) amounted to 2.1 trillion US Dollars in 2009 of which up to 70% is estimated to have been laundered.

Europol’s Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment SOCTA (2013) found that all member States are affected by cybercrime. The study refers to research by the European Commission, which states that 8% of internet users in the EU have experienced identity theft and 12% have suffered from some form of online fraud. Additionally, malware affects millions of households and the general volume of banking fraud related to cybercrime has been increasing annually.

The EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe. COM(2010) 673 final. In 2011 there were 174 terrorist attacks in EU Member States. Te-SAT 2012.

Eurobarometer 77, Spring 2012.

Eurobarometer 77, Spring 2012. 27% of Europeans mentioned that the fight against crime should be emphasized by EU institutions in the coming years.

Special Eurobarometer 390 on Cyber Security, July 2012. 74% of respondents stated that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime has increased in the past year.

Joint Statement of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, and the European Commission on decentralised agencies, 19.7.2012 (http://europa.eu/agencies/documents/joint_statement_and_common_approach_2012_en.pdf) EN EN synergies can be contemplated or when agencies would be more efficient if inserted in a bigger structure”.

Merging Europol and CEPOL into a single agency, situated at the current headquarters of Europol in The Hague would create important synergies and efficiency gains. Combining the operational police cooperation know-how of Europol with the training and education expertise of CEPOL would strengthen the links and create synergies between the two fields. Contacts between the operational and the training staff working within a single agency would help identify training needs, thus increasing the relevance and focus of EU training, to the benefit of EU police cooperation overall. Duplication of support functions in the two agencies would be avoided, and resulting savings could be redeployed and invested in core operational and training functions. This is particularly important in an economic context, where national and EU resources are scarce and where resources to strengthen EU law enforcement training might not otherwise be available.

This proposal for a regulation therefore provides for a legal framework for a new Europol which succeeds and replaces Europol as established by the Council Decision 2009/371/JHA of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office (Europol), and CEPOL as established by Council Decision 2005/681/JHA establishing the European Police College (CEPOL).

The proposal is in line with the requirements of the Lisbon Treaty, the expectations of the Stockholm Programme, the priorities set out in the Internal Security Strategy in Action, and the Common Approach to EU decentralised agencies.

2. RESULTS OF CONSULTATIONS WITH THE INTERESTED PARTIES AND

IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

Dialogues on the preparation of the reform of Europol, CEPOL and of EU law enforcement training took place in 2010 and 2011 between the Commission and representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the Management Board of Europol and Governing Body of CEPOL, as well as with representatives of national Parliaments.

In line with its “Better Regulation” policy, the Commission conducted two impact assessments of policy alternatives concerning Europol and CEPOL.19 The impact assessment on Europol was based on the two policy objectives of increasing provision of information to Europol by Member States and of setting a data processing environment that allows Europol to fully assist Member States in preventing and combating serious crime and terrorism. As regards the former objective, two policy options were assessed: (i) clarifying a legal obligation of Member States to provide data to Europol, providing for incentives and a reporting mechanism on the performance of individual Member States, and (ii) granting Europol access to relevant national law enforcement databases on a hit-/no hit basis. As regards the policy objective on a data processing environment, two policy options were assessed: (i) merging the two existing Analyses Work Files into one and (ii) new processing environment setting up procedural safeguards to implement data protection principles with particular emphasis on ‘privacy by design’.

The impact assessment on CEPOL was based on the two policy objectives of (i) ensuring better quality, more joined-up and more consistent training for a wider range of law enforcement officers in cross-border crime issues and (ii) establishing a framework to achieve To insert references to the final versions of the impact assessments on Europol and CEPOL EN EN this in line with the Common Approach on EU decentralised agencies. In the context of the Commission presenting a Law Enforcement Training Scheme, for the implementation of which additional resources will be needed, the Commission examined different options including strengthening and streamlining CEPOL as a separate agency and merging, partially or fully, the functions of CEPOL and Europol into a new Europol agency.

According to the Commission’s established methodology, each policy option was assessed, with the help of an inter-service steering group, against its impact on security, on the costs (including on the budget of the EU institutions) and impact on fundamental rights.

The analysis of the overall impact led to the development of the preferred policy option which is incorporated in the present proposal. According to the assessment, its implementation will lead to further effectiveness of Europol as an agency providing comprehensive support for law enforcement officers in the European Union.

3. LEGAL ELEMENTS OF THE PROPOSAL

Article 88 and Article 87(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union are the legal bases for the proposal.

Objective and content of the legislative proposal

This proposal aims to:

• Align Europol with the requirements of the Treaty of Lisbon by setting up the legislative framework of Europol in the regulation and by introducing a mechanism for control of Europol’s activities by the European Parliament, together with national Parliaments. In this way democratic legitimacy and accountability of Europol to the European citizen would be enhanced.

• Meet the goals of the Stockholm Programme by making Europol “a hub for information exchange between the law enforcement authorities of the Member States” and establishing European training schemes and exchange programmes for all relevant law enforcement professionals at national and EU level.

• Grant Europol new responsibilities so that it may provide a more comprehensive support for law enforcement authorities in the Member States. This includes Europol taking over the current tasks of CEPOL in the area of training of law enforcement officers and developing a Law Enforcement Training Scheme. This also involves a possibility for Europol to develop the EU centres of specialized expertise for combating certain types of crime falling under Europol’s objectives, in particular the European Cybercrime Centre.



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