Answer given by Ms Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission (20.8.2021)
- In December 2020, the Commission proposed to strengthen the mandate of the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol)1 to reinforce operational police cooperation, but always in support of national authorities. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides that Europol cannot be a European FBI, notably because Europol does not have coercive powers and that its main role is to support and strengthen national law enforcement.
- The 2016 Commission proposal2 for the recast of the Eurodac Regulation3 and the 2020 amendment proposal4 do not change the law enforcement related provisions of this legislation. The European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement in 2018 which includes facilitating law enforcement searches, for example by allowing alphanumeric searches. However, these changes do not entail the possibility for national police forces and security authorities to routinely request information from Eurodac. The 2020 proposal includes a number of amendments to ensure that Eurodac will function within the new interoperability framework and amendments regulating the access by ETIAS5 National Units and competent visa authorities.
- The new competencies proposed by the Commission in its December 2020 proposal on the Europol mandate would also strengthen the work of the European Counter Terrorism Centre at Europol, notably by enabling Europol to cooperate effectively with private parties, to process large and complex datasets, and to enter data into the Schengen Information System. In addition, the Commission proposal foresees additional resources, which include additional funding and staff for this centre.
1 COM(2020) 796 final.
2 COM(2016) 272 final.
3 Regulation (EU) No 603/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the establishment of ‘Eurodac’ for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation
(EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes, and amending Regulation
(EU) No 1077/2011 establishing a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, OJ L 180, 29.6.2013.
4 COM(2020) 614 final.
5 European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
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