The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) in the European Parliament today overwhelmingly approved a new regulation on the European Police Agency (Europol) which was driven by EPP Group MEP Agustin Díaz de Mera.
The regulation will provide Europol with more resources to effectively combat terrorist threats and other forms of organised crime. The regulation was supported by all major groups in Parliament.
Mr Díaz de Mera, European Parliament Rapporteur, said that the new regulation will "enhance the effectiveness of Europol, whose main task is to collect, store, process, analyse and share information, including criminal intelligence, for use to prevent and combat the organised crime”.
The new regulation is mandatory for all Member States and will increase and improve the exchange of information among EU countries and with private entities to combat a wide range of threats, including terrorism, drug trafficking, kidnapping and trafficking of illegal immigrants.
According to the new proposal Europol will be allowed to better address the activities and propaganda of violent extremists taking place on the Internet, thanks to the Internet Referral Unit (IRU), which it is already operating on an experimental basis.
"The IRU is a new essential tool to detect and disable the radicalisation and recruitment networks of terrorists, one of our biggest challenges in preventing terrorist attacks," said Diaz de Mera.
Also, the new regulation will facilitate collaboration and exchange of information between Europol and Eurojust. All exchanges of information under the new regulation will be monitored by the European Data Protection Supervisor, an independent body and guarantor of data protection. The agreement also includes the creation of the Joint Parliamentary Control Group, consisting of the European Parliament together with national parliaments, which will have the power to control the activities of Europol.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States
The new Europol regulation was already agreed last week between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU, but the formal approval of the European Parliament was still necessary. After the vote today in the LIBE Committee, the approval of EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs is expected this Friday. The European Parliament will ratify today's vote in the LIBE Committee in plenary in March.