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EU counter-terror cooperation to be stepped up with new powers for Europol

11 May 2017

EU counter-terror cooperation to be stepped up with new powers for Europol

Police and security cooperation across the EU will be strengthened after MEPs today adopted a new mandate for Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency.

Police and security cooperation across the EU will be strengthened after MEPs today adopted a new mandate for Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency.

The new Europol powers will enable it to respond more swiftly to arising threats, through the creation of new platforms for operational cooperation and information exchange between national police forces. In particular, it will allow Europol to increase the capability of its newly-opened Internet Referral Unit, which has proven particularly effective in working with EU states to help take down terrorist propaganda and recruitment material. Under the new rules adopted, Europol will also be able to work directly with providers like Facebook to identify and remove materials that are seeking to recruit potential foreign fighters.

The new rules increase the data protection supervision over Europol, and also give both the European Parliament and national parliaments new oversight powers over the agency.
Speaking in the debate on the new Europol regulation, Timothy Kirkhope MEP said:

“Europol needs new tools to face new challenges. Under the excellent leadership of Rob Wainwright, Europol has become a critical hub for cooperation, operational support and intelligence exchange throughout the EU.

“This regulation gives Europol the legal tools needed to respond more swiftly to threats, and it gives people and governments confidence that Europol is conforming to extremely high standards of data protection and transparency.

“It allows MEPs and national parliaments to keep watch over Europol’s actions to ensure accountability, which can only strengthen trust in our law enforcement cooperation across the Union.

“This regulation gives a solid basis for the work of Europol’s internet referral unit to be stepped up. With terrorist organisations increasingly using social media as a recruitment tool, and thousands of Twitter and Facebook accounts being created for recruitment purposes, we need to work together to take down this material as soon as it is posted. Through this regulation Europol can work directly with social media providers, who have frankly too often washed their hands of responsibility for the propaganda posted via their platforms.
“Europol is not a European FBI, nor does it need to be. It should continue to operate as a hub for information exchange, and for cooperation and coordination amongst all of our law enforcement. Our fight against terrorism and serious crime is one where we are too often several steps behind our enemy. This Regulation is an important step in closing that gap.”

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