The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known under the name Europol, formerly the European Police Office and Europol Drugs Unit, is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) formed in 1998 to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organised crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states. The Agency has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without prior approval from competent authorities in the member states. Seated in The Hague, South Holland, it comprised 1,065 staff in 2016.
|European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation|
Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands
|Formed||1 October 1998|
The Hague, Netherlands
|Employees||1065 (December 2016)|
|Annual budget||€116.4 million (FY 2017)|
Europol (European Union)
Europol has its origins in TREVI, a forum for security cooperation created amongst European Community interior and justice ministers in 1976. At first, TREVI focused on international terrorism, but soon started to cover other areas of cross-border crime within the Community. At the European Summit in Luxembourg on 28–29 June 1991, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl called for the creation of a European police agency similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—thus sowing the seeds of police co-operation across Europe. At the Summit, the European Council agreed to establish "a Central European Criminal Investigations Office (Europol) by 31 December 1993 the latest." The idea of the Luxembourg Summit was further elaborated at the European Council in Maastricht on 9–10 December 1991, a meeting to draft the Maastricht Treaty. The European Council agreed to create "a European police office (Europol) the initial function of which would be to organize exchange of information on narcotic drugs". The Council likewise instructed TREVI ministers to take measures in setting up the office. On 7 February 1992, Europol was enshrined with more substance in Article K.1, section 9, as the Maastricht Treaty was signed:
[...] Member States shall regard the following areas as matters of common interest: [...] police cooperation for the purposes of preventing and combatting terrorism, unlawful drug trafficking and other serious forms of international crime, including if necessary certain aspects of customs cooperation, in connection with the organization of a Union-wide system for exchanging information within a European Police Office (Europol).
Europol was first de facto organised provisionally in 1993 as the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU) in Strasbourg at the same site as the Schengen Information System was hosted. The small initial group started operations there in January 1994 under the leadership of Jürgen Storbeck and with a mandate to assist national police forces in criminal investigations. The competition for the permanent site of Europol during the period was between The Hague, Rome and Strasbourg—the European Council decided on 29 October 1993 that Europol should be established in The Hague. A former Catholic boys school built in 1910 at Raamweg 47 was chosen as the precise location. The house was used in World War II by police and intelligence agencies and after the War manned by the Dutch State Intelligence Service until Europol relocated there later in 1994.
The Europol Convention was signed on 26 July 1995 in Brussels and came into force on 1 October 1998 after being ratified by all the Member States. The European Police Office (Europol) commenced its full activities on 1 July 1999.
Europol was fully integrated into the European Union with Council Decision 2009/371/JHA of 6 April 2009. It replaced the Europol Convention and reformed Europol as an EU agency (i.e. subject to the general rules and procedures applicable to all EU agencies) on 1 January 2010 due to different aspirations, such as enhanced support to Member States on countering serious and organised crime, budgetary control by the European Parliament, and administrative simplification.
The Agency's new 32 000 m2 headquarters building, designed by Frank Wintermans, was opened by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on 1 July 2011 in the international zone of The Hague next to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at Eisenhowerlaan 73.
On 11 January 2013, Director Rob Wainwright and European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström launched the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3 or EC³), a unit of Europol tasked with assisting Member States to dismantle and disrupt cybercrime committed by organised groups to generate large criminal profits (e.g. online fraud), causing serious harm to victims (e.g. online child sexual exploitation) or affecting critical infrastructure and systems in the EU. The purpose of the Centre is to coordinate cross-border law enforcement activities against cybercrime and act as a centre of technological expertise, such as tool development and training. Commissioner Malmström stated that the need for a cybercrime centre in Europe was "to protect the open and free internet". On 25 January 2016, the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) was launched as a new strategic platform within Europol to share information among EU states in tracking movements of Europeans into and from Syria as well as to monitor terrorists' finances and militants' Internet usage.
The European Parliament approved Europol's new legal framework, Regulation (EU) 2016/794, on 11 May 2016 after three years of negotiations and thus repealed the former Decisions of 2009. The new framework granted additional powers on counter-terrorism to Europol, but also includes adding training and exchange programmes for staff, creating a solid data protection system, and strengthening the Parliament's control over the Agency. The Regulation took effect on 1 May 2017. Additionally, the full name was amended to European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
Denmark was not permitted to participate in the 2016 recast Europol Regulation due to its opt-out from the Area of freedom, security and justice. In a December 2015 referendum it rejected converting its opt-out to a case-by-case opt-in, which would have allowed it to participate in the new regulation and remain a member of Europol. However, Denmark and the European Union agreed on a co-operation deal in December 2016. The agreement was accepted by both the European Parliament and the Danish Parliament on 27 April 2017 and subsequently signed on 29 April 2017—two days before Denmark would have been cut off from the Agency.
The UK also did not originally participate in the recast 2016 Europol Regulation, but subsequently notified the EU of its desire to participate in December 2016. Its participation was confirmed by a Commission Decision in March 2017. In September 2017, it was reported that the United Kingdom was planning to hold onto Europol access, such as intelligence sharing and co-operation in fighting crime and terrorism, after Brexit though a new treaty. However, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said in November 2017 that the UK "will no longer be a member of the European Defence Agency or Europol" after Brexit takes effect.
Europol started the Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object campaign and website on 31 May 2017. The site's objective is to display objects in child sexual abuse images to try to find the perpetrators and victims — in the hope that distinct details, such as a logo on a bag or a shampoo bottle, can be identified by the public who can then forward the information by an anonymous tip-off or social media. The approach was called crowdsourcing by the investigators. Bellingcat, the investigative search network, reported that several objects had been positively identified following its attempt to support Europol's call.
Europol is mandated by the European Union (EU) to assist EU Member States in the fight against international crime, such as illicit drugs, trafficking in human beings, intellectual property crime, cybercrime, euro counterfeiting and terrorism, by serving as a centre for law enforcement co-operation, expertise and criminal intelligence. Europol or its officials do not have executive powers — and therefore they do not have powers of arrest and cannot carry out investigations without the approval of national authorities.
Europol reported it would focus on countering cybercrime, organized crime, and terrorism as well as on building its information technology capacities during the 2016–2020 strategy cycle, . Europol likewise stated that the previous strategy cycle of 2010–2014 laid the foundation for the Agency as the European criminal information hub. The EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) of 2017 identified eight priority crime areas: cybercrime; drug production, trafficking and distribution; migrant smuggling; organised property crime; trafficking in human beings; criminal finances and money laundering; document fraud; and online trade in illicit goods and services.
Additionally, the Agency's tasked activities in detail include analysis and exchange information, such as criminal intelligence; co-ordination of investigative and operational action as well as joint investigation teams; preparation of threat assessments, strategic and operational analyses and general situation reports; and developing specialist knowledge of crime prevention and forensic methods. Europol is to coordinate and support other EU bodies established within the area of freedom, security and justice, such as the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), and EU crisis management missions. The Agency is also directed to assist the European Council and the European Commission in developing strategic and operational priorities.
In the financial year 2017, the Agency's budget was approximately 116.4 million euros. As of December 2016, Europol has 1065 staff, of which 32.3 % are female and 67.7 % male, including employment contracts with Europol, liaison officers from Member States and third states and organisations, Seconded National Experts, trainees and contractors. 201 of the staff are liaison officers and around 100 analysts. In addition to the Management Board and Liaison Bureaux, Europol is organised into three different departments under the Executive Director:
The Europol Directorate, day-to-day leadership of the Agency, is appointed by the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) for four-year terms. As of 2018, the Agency is headed by Executive Director Catherine De Bolle. The Agency is accountable to and controlled by the Justice and Home Affairs Council. Together with the European Parliament, the Council approves Europol's budget and regulations related to its work. The Council forwards an annual special report to the European Parliament on the work of the Agency — and the Parliament also discharges Europol from its responsibility for managing a set budget. Before 2009, the Agency was an international body and thus the European Parliament lacked effective scrutiny powers over it. From 2009 to 2017, the European Parliament had been the sole organ in parliamentary control of Europol. The Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) was created at the EU Speakers Conference in Bratislava on 23-25 April 2017 to allow both the European Parliament and national EU parliaments to exert control over Europol.
The Europol Management Board comprises representatives from all of the Member States and from the European Commission, each having one vote. Decisions of the Board require a supermajority and it meets at least twice per year on Europol's current and future activities as well as on adopting the budget, programming material and general annual reports. The Board forwards its decisions to the Justice and Home Affairs Council for the Council's perusal. The Management Board functions include data protection, internal audit and accountancy.
External financial oversight of the Agency is conducted by the European Court of Auditors (ECA); for example, ECA evaluated Europol in 2017 on anti-radicalization programmes. Internal control is carried out by the Internal Audit Service of the European Commission as well as by the Europol Management Board-appointed Internal Audit Function. The European Ombudsman is tasked with investigating complaints against EU institutions and bodies, including Europol, as well as assisting to create a more transparent, effective, accountable and ethical administration. As of 1 May 2017, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has been responsible for supervising the Agency's data protection measures.
The Director of Europol is able to enter into agreements for Europol with other countries and international organizations. As of September 2017, Europol co-operates on an operational basis with Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Denmark, Colombia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and United States of America and Interpol. Similarly, the Agency has strategic agreements with Brazil, China, Russia, Turkey, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and World Customs Organization (WCO).
Office in classical school building from 1910. This office building was used by Europol until 2011.
The European Police Office is a support service for the law enforcement agencies of the EU Member States. This means that Europol officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without the approval of national authorities.
On 20 December 2014, a man in Joué-lès-Tours near the city of Tours in central France entered a police station and attacked officers with a knife, shouting "Allahu Akbar" and injuring three before he was shot and killed. The attack was categorised as a case of religiously inspired terrorism by Europol, and has been reported by Europol as well as mappings by CNN and AFP as inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).Adamantyl-THPINACA
Adamantyl-THPINACA (ATHPINACA, AD-THPINACA) is an indazole-based synthetic cannabinoid, which was first reported to Europol in Slovenia in January 2015. It is known as both the 1-adamantyl and 2-adamantyl isomers (SGT-40 and SGT-194 respectively), which can be distinguished by GC-EI-MS. It is banned in Sweden. and Russia. Both the 1-adamantyl and 2-adamantyl isomers are specifically listed as illegal drugs in Japan.Assemblée des francophones fonctionnaires des organisations internationales
The Assemblée des francophones fonctionnaires des organisations internationales (AFFOI), French for the Assembly of French speaking international civil servants, is a global network of French-speaking international civil servants.
The Assembly was founded in The Hague in 2007 by representatives of the United Nations (UN), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the European Space Agency (ESA), Europol and Eurojust, it is now represented in 57 international organisations.
The objective of the AFFOI is to defend linguistic, cultural and conceptual diversity within in the functioning of international organisations.The AFFOI has offices in cities with high density of international organisations -The Hague, New York City, Washington, Geneva, Luxembourg, Brussels, Addis Ababa. Its headquarters are located in The Hague, Netherlands.Avalanche (phishing group)
Avalanche was a criminal syndicate involved in phishing attacks, online bank fraud, and ransomware. The name also refers to the network of owned, rented, and compromised systems used to carry out that activity. Avalanche only infected computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system.
In November 2016, the Avalanche botnet was destroyed after a four-year project by an international consortium of law enforcement, commercial, academic, and private organizations.Dark0de
dark0de a.k.a. Darkode, is a cybercrime forum and black marketplace described by Europol as "the most prolific English-speaking cybercriminal forum to date". The site, which launched in 2007, serves as a venue for the sale and trade of hacking services, botnets, malware, and other illicit goods and services.Eurojust
Eurojust is an agency of the European Union (EU) dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters among agencies of the member states. It is seated in The Hague, Netherlands. Established in 2002, it was created to improve handling of serious cross-border and organised crime by stimulating investigative and prosecutorial co-ordination.
Eurojust is composed of a college formed of 28 national members—experienced judges, prosecutors, or police officers of equivalent competence from each EU member state. The terms and duties of the members are defined by the state that appoints them. Eurojust also co-operates with third states and other EU bodies such as the European Judicial Network, Europol and the OLAF.European Cybercrime Centre
The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3 or EC³) is the body of the Police Office (Europol) of the European Union (EU), headquartered in The Hague, that coordinates cross-border law enforcement activities against computer crime and acts as a centre of technical expertise on the matter.Fugitive
A fugitive (or runaway) is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from jail, a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals. A fugitive from justice, also known as a wanted person, can be a person who is either convicted or accused of a crime and hiding from law enforcement in the state or taking refuge in a different country in order to avoid arrest.A fugitive from justice alternatively has been defined as a person formally charged with a crime or a convicted criminal whose punishment has not yet been determined or fully served who is currently beyond the custody or control of the national or sub-national government or international criminal tribunal with an interest in his or her arrest. This latter definition adopts the perspective of the pursuing government or tribunal, recognizing that the charged (versus escaped) individual does not necessarily realize that they are officially a wanted person (e.g., due to a case of mistaken identity or reliance on a sealed indictment), and therefore may not be fleeing, hiding, or taking refuge to avoid arrest. The fugitive from justice is ‘international’ (versus ‘domestic’) if wanted by law enforcement authorities across a national border.Interpol is the international organization with no legal authority to directly pursue or detain fugitives of any kind. Europol is the European authority for the pursuit of fugitives who are on the run within Europe, and coordinates their search, while national authorities in the probable country of their stay coordinate their arrest. In the United States, the U.S. Marshals Service is the primary law enforcement agency that tracks down federal fugitives, though the Federal Bureau of Investigation also tracks fugitives.
As a verbal metaphor and psychological concept, one might also be described as a "fugitive from oneself". Finally, the literary sense of "fugitive" includes the meaning of simply "fleeing".
In many jurisdictions, a fugitive who flees custody while a trial is underway loses the right to appeal any convictions or sentences imposed on him, since the act of fleeing is deemed to flout the court's authority. Recently, convicted rapist Andrew Luster had his appeals denied on the basis that he spent six months as a fugitive (he was convicted in absentia).Islamic terrorism in Europe
Islamic terrorism in Europe has been carried out by Islamic State or Al-Qaeda operatives as well as Islamist lone wolves since the late 20th century.
In the early 2000s, most of the Islamic terrorist activity was linked to Al-Qaeda and the plots tended to involve groups carrying out co-ordinated bombings. The deadliest attacks of this period were the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 193 civilians (the deadliest Islamist attack in Europe), and the 7 July 2005 London bombings, which killed 52.
There was a rise in Islamic terrorist activity in Europe after 2014. The years 2014–16 saw more people killed by Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe than all previous years combined, and the highest rate of attack plots per year. Most of this terrorist activity was inspired by Islamic State, and many European states have had some involvement in the military intervention against it. A small number of plots involved people who entered or re-entered Europe as asylum seekers during the European migrant crisis, and some attackers had returned to Europe after fighting in the Syrian Civil War. The Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting in May 2014 was the first attack in Europe by a returnee from the Syrian war.While most earlier Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe were carried out by groups and involved bombs, most attacks since 2014 have been carried out by individuals using guns, knives and vehicles. A notable exception is the Brussels cell, which carried out two of the deadliest attacks of the period.
The deadliest attacks of this period have been the November 2015 Paris attacks (130 killed), the July 2016 Nice truck attack (86 killed), the June 2016 Atatürk Airport attack (45 killed), the March 2016 Brussels bombings (32 killed), and the May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing (22 killed). These attacks and threats have led to major security operations and plans such as Opération Sentinelle in France, Operation Vigilant Guardian and the Brussels lockdown in Belgium, and Operation Temperer in the United Kingdom.Match-fixing in English football
Over the course of the game's history, several incidents relating to match-fixing in English football have taken place.Max-Peter Ratzel
Max-Peter Ratzel (born in 1949 in Dillingen/Saar, Germany) is a German law enforcement officer, and a former Director of Europol, the European Union law enforcement agency that handles criminal intelligence.Ninja Assassin
Ninja Assassin is a 2009 German-American neo-noir martial arts film directed by James McTeigue. The story was written by Matthew Sand, with a screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski. The film stars South Korean pop musician Rain as a disillusioned assassin looking for retribution against his former mentor, played by ninja film legend Sho Kosugi. Ninja Assassin explores political corruption, child endangerment and the impact of violence. The Wachowskis,[n 1] Joel Silver, and Grant Hill produced the film. A collective effort to commit to the film's production was made by Legendary Pictures, Dark Castle Entertainment and Silver Pictures. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Ninja Assassin premiered in theaters across the United States on November 25, 2009 and received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics. Its box office gross was $61,590,252, of which $38,122,883 was from North America. The film's budget was $40 million.Operation Rescue
Operation Rescue may refer to:
Operation Rescue (Kansas), a United States anti-abortion organization (formerly Operation Rescue West or California Operation Rescue, now simply Operation Rescue)
Operation Rescue New Zealand, a short-lived New Zealand anti-abortion organization
Operation Save America, a United States anti-abortion organization (formerly Operation Rescue or Operation Rescue National)
"Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion", a Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode
"Operation Rescue", a song by American punk band Bad Religion from their 1990 album Against the Grain
An investigation of child pornography conducted by Europol from 2008 to 2011 based on the operations of boylover.netOperation VETO
Operation VETO, the investigation by Europol and the police into match fixing in professional football, was announced on 4 February 2013. The investigation was carried out by Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, and centred on the influence of organised crime syndicates based in Asia on the results of 380 football matches played in 15 countries around the world, with 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals were under suspicion. At the time of the announcement, 50 people had been arrested in connection to the scandal.Rob Wainwright (civil servant)
Sir Robert Mark Wainwright KCMG (born 17 September 1967) is a British civil servant. He was the director of Europol from 16 April 2009 until 1 May 2018.Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object
Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object is an online campaign by Europol that shows objects which appear in the background of child porn footage. Europol asks people to visit this website and to look at the objects. The project seeks to identify objects and their locale in order to find and aid victims; situate crime scenes; and apprehend perpetrators. Europol believes that having many people trying to identify the objects will expedite the investigative process, allowing individual law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators and victims of child abuse faster. Individuals may submit information about objects anonymously without further contact from Europol or other law enforcement agencies. Europol's Victim Identification Task Force established the Trace an Object website as part of an overall effort to curb abuse crimes and human trafficking.TREVI
TREVI was an intergovernmental network, or forum, of national officials from ministries of justice and the interior outside the European Community framework, created during the European Council meeting in Rome, 1–2 December 1975. It ceased to exist when it was integrated into the so-called Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar of the European Union (EU) upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993.
The first TREVI meeting at the level of senior officials was held in Rome where the famous Trevi Fountain is located and the meeting was chaired by a Dutchman by the name of Fonteijn (English: Fountain). In some French textbooks, it is noted that TREVI stands for Terrorisme, Radicalisme, Extrémisme et Violence Internationale.
The creation of TREVI was prompted by several terrorist acts, most notably the hostage taking and subsequent massacre during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, and the inability of Interpol at that time to effectively assist the European countries in combatting terrorism. While TREVI was initially intended to coordinate effective counterterrorism responses among European governments, it slowly extended its remit to many other issues in crossborder policing between the members of the European Community. Many of the practices and a large part of the structure of the former Third Pillar traced their origins to TREVI.Terrorism in Europe
There is a long history of terrorism in Europe. This has often been linked to nationalist and separatist movements, while other acts have been related to political extremism (including anarchism, far-right and far-left extremism), or religious extremism.Transnational organized crime
Transnational organized crime (TOC) is organized crime coordinated across national borders, involving groups or networks of individuals working in more than one country to plan and execute illegal business ventures. In order to achieve their goals, these criminal groups use systematic violence and corruption. The most commonly seen transnational organized crimes are money laundering; human smuggling; cyber crime; and trafficking of humans, drugs, weapons, kidnapping, people smuggling, endangered species, body parts, or nuclear material.