Important steps forward in strengthening Europol's mandate

Author: Caroline Rhawi

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With cross-border crime and terrorism rapidly evolving in nature and sophistication, Renew Europe believes that the reinforcement of Europol is crucial. That is why our group is pleased to see the solid liberal footprint of Renew Europe in two legislative reports aiming at strengthening Europol's mandate, due to be adopted today by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

The first report focuses on strengthening Europol’s support to Member States' investigations, enabling effective cooperation with private parties, and increasing the agency's role in research, while the second report aims at giving Europol the ability to enter information alerts on suspects and criminals into the Schengen Information System (SIS).

Dragoș Tudorache, Renew Europe's shadow on the reports, emphasises some of the victories:

"Protecting fundamental rights is paramount to Renew Europe. It is through this angle that we have worked on the revision of Europol's mandate. We have called for and supported increased oversight capabilities and more resources for EDPS, increased responsibilities and resources for the Data Protection Officer and the establishment of a Fundamental Rights Officer."

He continues: "We have also called for and supported mandating of fundamental rights training for all Europol staff involved in personal data processing, increased reporting responsibilities towards the JPSG, and the establishment of a consultative forum to provide independent advice on fundamental rights matters."

However, Renew Europe regrets that the other political groups did not want to go further in some aspects and take a more ambitious European stance. For instance, our group was the only one that pushed for giving Europol the mandate to initiate, conduct, and coordinate criminal investigations in those cases where a crime falls within Europol's mandate and Member States are unwilling or unable to do so.

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