Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency whose main goal is to help achieve a safer Europe for the benefit of all EU citizens. We do this by assisting the European Union’s Member States in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism.
Large–scale criminal and terrorist networks pose a significant threat to the internal security of the EU and to the safety and livelihood of its people. The biggest security threats come from terrorism, international drug trafficking and money laundering, organised fraud, counterfeiting of the euro currency, and people smuggling. But new dangers are also accumulating, in the form of cybercrime, trafficking in human beings, and other modern-day threats. This is a multi–billion euro business, quick to adapt to new opportunities and resilient in the face of traditional law enforcement measures.
Almost 800 staff at Europol headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, works closely with law enforcement agencies in the 27 EU Member States and in other non-EU partner states such as Australia, Canada, the USA and Norway.
The agency uses its unique information capabilities and the expertise of its staff to identify and track the most dangerous criminal and terrorist networks in Europe. Law enforcement authorities in the EU rely on this intelligence work and the services of Europol’s operational coordination centre and secure information network, to carry out over 13 500 cross–border investigations each year. These have led to the disruption of many criminal and terrorist networks, to the arrest of thousands of dangerous criminals, to the recovery of millions of euro in criminal proceeds, and to the recovery from harm of hundreds of victims, including children trafficked for sexual exploitation. Europol also acts as a major centre of expertise in key fields of law enforcement activity and as a European centre for strategic intelligence on organised crime.
Europol officers have no direct powers of arrest but support EU law enforcement colleagues by gathering, analysing and disseminating information and coordinating operations. Our partners use the input to prevent, detect and investigate offences, and to track down and prosecute those who commit them. Europol experts and analysts take part in Joint Investigation Teams which help solve criminal cases on the spot in EU countries.
Europol personnel come from different kinds of law enforcement agencies, including regular police, border police, customs and security services. This multi-agency approach helps to close information gaps and minimise the space in which criminals can operate.
Currently 145 Europol Liaison Officers (ELOs) are based at Europol headquarters. These ELOs are seconded to Europol by the EU Member States and our non-EU partners. They guarantee fast and effective cooperation based on personal contact and mutual trust.
Our position at the heart of the European security architecture means we offer a unique range of services. Europol is a support centre for law enforcement operations, a hub for criminal information, and a centre for law enforcement expertise.
Analysis is at the core of our activities. Europol employs around 100 criminal analysts who are among the best trained in Europe. This gives Europol one of the largest concentrations of analytical capability in the EU. Our analysts use state-of-the-art tools to support Member States’ investigations on a daily basis.
To give our partners a deeper insight into the criminal problems they are dealing with, Europol produces regular assessments which offer comprehensive and forward-looking analyses of crime and terrorism in the European Union. The European Organised Crime Threat Assessment (OCTA) identifies and assesses emerging threats. The OCTA describes the structure of organised crime groups and the way they operate, and the main types of crime affecting the European Union. The EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT), published annually, gives a detailed account of the state of terrorism in the EU.
Europol is a high-security operational centre. We deal with more than 9,000 cases a year, turning high-quality analysis into operational successes. This flexible service centre operates non-stop: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Europol serves as an EU centre of expertise, providing a central platform for law enforcement experts from the European Union countries.
Europol officers are always ready to travel at short notice and provide support with our mobile office. Our presence is also in demand in the fight against illicit drugs and we have a fully operational team to help dismantle synthetic drugs laboratories on-the-spot.
International crime and terrorist groups operate worldwide and make use of the latest technology. To ensure an effective and coordinated response, Europol needs to be equally flexible and innovative, and make sure its methods and tools are up to date. We have state-of-the-art databases and communication channels, offering fast and secure capabilities for storing, searching, visualising and linking information.
Gathering, analysing and disseminating this information entails the exchange of large quantities of personal data. Europol sets and adheres to the highest standards of data protection and data security.
Areas of expertise
Since Europol can offer a flexible response, we focus on different areas of criminal and terrorist activity from year to year, depending on the demands of the situation. Our main priorities, however, tend to remain relatively stable, reflecting those of international criminal and terrorist groups. Over the years we have built up substantial experience in fighting drug trafficking, illicit immigration networks and trafficking in human beings, illicit vehicle trafficking, cybercrime, money laundering and forgery of money. Europol is the European central office to combat euro counterfeiting.
Europol enjoys excellent cooperation arrangements with law enforcement partners in Europe and beyond. It also values its accountability arrangements and data protection regime, which are among the most robust and transparent in the world.
We welcome public interest in our work and trust that the contents of this website offer the reader a good illustration of our activities, the responsible way in which they are carried out, and the impact they are having on making Europe safer.
11 January 2016
Europol is pleased to host today a joint meeting of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Groups of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Together with its counterparts from the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Turkey, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has invited senior representatives to this meeting which focuses on measures and actions that can be taken to improve the implementation of plans to tackle foreign terrorist fighters.
23 December 2015
In 2013 the Programme Board of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) identified the need for establishing Advisory Groups to provide guidance to EC3. In 2013, Advisory Groups were established in the areas of Financial Services and Internet Security.The members were recruited from experts operating in these respective sectors. A number of seats are available in both groups due to the termination of the appointment of some members and an expansion of the number of members to 25.
22 December 2015
Today, Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, EU Operation Commander of the European Union military operation in the southern central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED), operation Sophia, and Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance bilateral cooperation. Europol and EUNAVFOR MED are determined to strengthen direct bilateral cooperation to identify and dismantle criminal groups involved in migrant smuggling in the southern central Mediterranean.
16 December 2015
The Hague, the Netherlands
On 9 and 10 December, Europol hosted a conference focused on cross-border vehicle crime. The event was organised by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Chaired by the Luxembourg Criminal Police, the conference saw the participation of police officers from 24 EU Member States and Switzerland, along with experts from Europol and Interpol. The dedicated network of national coordinators in this field is known as CARPOL.
15 December 2015
Today, Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, attended the Balkan Region Police Chiefs Conference, Foro di Roma, held in Rome. The fight against organised crime in the Balkans, the strengthening of cooperation against terrorism and the facilitation of irregular migration were among the topics discussed.
4 December 2015
The heads of Europol and Frontex signed an agreement today to expand their cooperation in combatting cross-border criminal activities by exchanging information, including personal data of suspected criminals, and jointly planning operational activities.
Europol Director Rob Wainwright and Executive Director Leggeri signed the agreement during a ceremony in Brussels.
COMMUNICATION FROM EUROPOL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COUNCIL DECISION (EU) 2015/1889 OF 08 OCTOBER 2015 ON THE DISSOLUTION OF THE EUROPOL PENSION FUND
1 December 2015
On 08 October 2015, the Council decided to dissolve the Europol Pension Fund (COUNCIL DECISION (EU) 2015/1889 on the dissolution of the Europol Pension Fund). With this decision the independent pension fund established by the Council Act of 12 March 1999 is dissolved as of 1 January 2016. The full Council Decision can be accessed in the Official Journal.
26 November 2015
Today, we received the visit of Vidar Helgesen, Norwegian Minister of European Economic Area and EU Affairs and Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister, who was accompanied by a delegation from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Europol’s work to tackle people smuggling networks and the excellent cooperation with Norway, were among the topics discussed.
26 November 2015
Today, Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, welcomed Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Danish Prime Minister, to Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. After meeting with our Director, Mr Rasmussen visited Europol’s installations, including the operational centre and the European Cybercrime Centre Lab. At the end of his visit, Mr Rasmussen held a press conference for Danish media.
20 November 2015
On 17-20 November 2015, Europol, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), conducted an intensive operational training in Świerk (Warsaw area), Poland. The training course was supported by the Polish Police and the Polish National Centre for the Nuclear Research.
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