Europol: Wikis


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Paris plan pointer b jms.svg
Seat The Hague, Netherlands
Legal authority Treaty on EU Title VI
The Europol Convention
Signed 1998
Established 1 July 1999
Director Rob Wainwright (UK)

Europol (portmanteau of European Police Office) is the European Union's criminal intelligence agency. It became fully operational on 1 July 1999.

The establishment of Europol was agreed to in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, officially known as the Treaty on European Union (TEU) that came into effect in November 1993. The agency started limited operations on 3 January 1994, as the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU). In 1998 the Europol Convention was ratified by all the member states and came into force in October. Europol commenced its full activities on 1 July 1999.

Europol allocates its resources (625 staff, of these, approximately 120 Europol liaison officers (ELOs)) from its headquarters in The Hague. The size of Europol belies the fact that they are in constant liaison with hundreds of different law enforcement organisations, each with their own individual or group seconded to assist Europol's activities.

As of 2007, Europol covers all 27 member states of the European Union. In order to fight international organised crime effectively, Europol cooperates with a number of third countries and organisations as follows (in alphabetical order): Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, CEPOL (European Police College), Colombia, Croatia, Eurojust, European Central Bank, European Commission, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Republic of Macedonia, Frontex, Iceland, Interpol, Moldova, Norway, OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office), Russian Federation, Switzerland, SitCen (EU Joint Situation Centre), Turkey, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, USA, World Customs Organisation. This is done on the basis of cooperation agreements concluded in accordance with the Europol Convention. The Europol External Strategy defines the framework within which Europol is to develop its activities with regard to third partners.

It has been decided that Europol will be converted to a full EU agency on 1 January 2010, thus simplifying the procedure to reform it; until then, reforms have to be made through an amendment to the Europol Convention.[1][2]



Europol building in The Hague

Europol's aim is to improve the effectiveness and co-operation between the competent authorities of the member states primarily by sharing and pooling intelligence to prevent and combat serious international organized crime. Its mission is to make a significant contribution to the European Union's law enforcement efforts targeting organized crime.

Europol has no executive powers. It is a support service for the law enforcement agencies of the EU member states. This means that Europol officials are not entitled to conduct investigations in the member states or to arrest suspects. In providing support, Europol with its tools – information exchange, intelligence analysis, expertise and training – can contribute to the executive measures carried out by the relevant national authorities.

Europol is a multi-disciplinary agency, comprising not only regular police officers but staff members from the member states' various law enforcement agencies: customs, immigration services, border and financial police, etc. Secondly, Europol helps to overcome the language barriers in international police co-operation. Any law enforcement officer from a member state can address a request to their Europol National Unit (ENU) in her/his mother tongue and receive the answer back in this language.

Three different levels of co-operation are possible: The first one is technical co-operation or to provide training. The next step is strategic co-operation aimed at exchanging general trends in organised crime and how to fight it and the exchange of threat assessments. The top level of co-operation includes the exchange of personal data and requires the fulfilment of Europol's standards in the field of data protection and data security.


Europol has it origins in TREVI, a forum for internal security cooperation amongst EEC/EC interior and justice ministers created in 1975 and active until the Maastricht Treaty came into effect in 1993.

Germany, with its federal organisation of police forces, had long been in favour of a supranational police organisation at EC level. It tabled a surprise proposal to establish a European Police Office to the European Council meeting in Luxembourg in June 1991. By that December, the Intergovernmental Conference was coming to an end and the member states had pledged themselves to establishing Europol through Article K.1(9) of the Maastricht Treaty. Europol was given the modest role of establishing ‘a Union-wide system for exchanging information’ amongst EU police forces.

Delays in ratifying the Maastricht Treaty led to TREVI ministers agreeing a "Ministerial Agreement on the Europol Drugs Unit" in June 1993. This intergovernmental agreement, outside of EU law, led to the establishment of a small team headed by Jürgen Storbeck, a senior German police officer who initially operated from some temporary cabins in a Strasbourg suburb (shared with personnel of the Schengen Information System) while more permanent arrangements were made.

Once the Maastricht Treaty had come into effect, the slow process of negotiating and ratifying a Europol Convention began. In the meantime, the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU) had its powers extended twice, in March 1995 and again in December 1996 to included a range of trafficking offences in its remit. During this period, information amongst officers could only be exchanged bilaterally, with a central database to be established once the Europol Convention was ratified. The Europol Convention finally came into effect in October 1998 after ratification by all 15 EU national parliaments though some outstanding legal issues (primarily data protection supervision and judicial supervision) ensured it could not formally take up duties until July 1999.


The Directorate of Europol is appointed by the Council of the European Union (Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs). It currently consists of Director Rob Wainwright (UK) and Deputy Directors Mariano Simancas (Spain), Michel Quillé (France) and Eugenio Orlandi (Italy).

Europol is politically accountable to the Justice and Home Affairs Council via the Europol Management Board. The Council controls the appointment of Europol's Director and Deputy Directors. It also controls Europol's budget, financed from member state contributions, rather than the EU budget and any legislative instruments it deems necessary for Europol. The Europol Management Board is staffed with Interior Ministry officials with one representative from every participating member state. It meets at least twice per year and exercises political control over more routine staffing and budetary matters, amongst other things. The Joint Supervisory Body oversees data protection in Europol and has two representatives from each participating state's data protection supervisory body.

Financial supervision over Europol is aided by a committee of auditors drawn from the membership of the European Court of Auditors and known as the Joint Audit Committee. The Joint Audit Committee is not technically part of the European Court of Auditors as the Europol budget is not part of the overall EU budget. This unusual arrangement preserves the intergovernmental character of Europol.

The European Court of Justice has minimal jurisdiction over Europol with its remit extending only to limited interpretation of the Europol Convention.

The European Ombudsman, while not given a formal role in the Europol Convention, seems to have gained de facto recognition as an arbitrator in Europol matters relating to requests for access to documents and Europol staff disputes.


Europol is formally unaccountable for its actions to the European Parliament, as well as to MPs from EU member countries. However, the Management Board of Europol is legally required to submit an annual report to the Council of the European Union, which is then submitted to the European Parliament.[3] Confidentiality of materials produced by and information held by Europol as well as discretion and confidentiality obligations on the staff employed by Europol are governed by the appropriate provisions of the convention.[4]

Fictional appearances

Film and TV-Series:

• The character Johan Falk (Jacob Eklund) from The Third Wave (see below) is returning to the screen in 2009 in six film parts of GSI – Gruppen för särskilda insatser (Swedish). In the series, Johan Falk returns after five years of service at the Europol headquarters in The Hague to the police in Gothenburg, where he is going to lead the unit GSI. Johan Falk's family stays in The Hague.

Ninja Assassin is an upcoming martial arts film. Mika Coretti played by Naomie Harris, is a Europol agent who investigates money linked to political murders.

• In the French movie Cash from 2008, Julia (Valeria Golino) is an ambitious Europol officer who is hunting a small-time swindler nicknamed Cash.

• In Reflections from 2008 Europol agent Tom Brindle (Timothy Hutton) investigates the case of Pygmalion, a serial murderer who has killed several girls in France and Spain.

Chrysalis is a French science fiction movie. (2007). In 2025 Paris, Police lieutenant David Hoffman (Albert Dupontel) investigates the circumstances behind the body of a young girl. Hoffman finds a link between the murderer and Dimitri Nicolov, ex-Bulgarian secret service agent and a key figure in organised crime. In this movie Europol is contending with bodies and disappearances.

The Container Lorry (Täckmnteln) (2006). This movie is based on a plot by the Swedish writer Henning Mankell. A container found in a wood contains nine death persons – illegal immigrants. The Swedish detectives involve Europol in the case. Europol employee Henrietta Andersen thinks that the organisation {Lifeline Unlimited” plays an important role in the case.

• Christian Hennig played by Bruno Eyron, who heads the operations of the Vienna Crime Squad (also known as SOKO Wien and SOKO Donau) is a cool, analytically-gifted ex-Europol agent with a razor- sharp mind.

• In the 2004 film Ocean's Twelve, Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Europol agent Isabel Lahiri. In an interview about the film and her research which included a visit to Europol in The Hague, Catherine Zeta-Jones said “It’s very good to know that Europol agents wear red leather to work. When I was first researching the character I didn’t think of red leather and it really helped in my characterization”. The scenes weren't actually shot in the Europol building but in the more picturesque city hall of The Hague.

• The Danish TV drama Ørnen (The Eagle) (2004). This series of 12 parts is about a small special unit which is founded within the Danish National Police in cooperation with Europol. Their focus is on international organised crime and terrorism. The cooperation with Europol is most significant in part 8, Operation Hades.

• Europol is the focal point in the Swedish film The Third Wave (2003). In its opening sequence a Europol boss addresses the press and describes how organised crime is taking over the European economy.

• Europol has been mentioned in several episodes of the American TV series, Alias.

• When the German series featuring Chief Inspector Derrick ended in 1998 after 24 years and 281 episodes, the storyline was that he was promoted to a desk-job at Europol.

• Europol had already been mentioned in the German TV series Okay S.I.R. as early as 1972. The main characters were two female Europol agents working out of Munich.


• Stan Lauryssens, Bloedrozen (The Dali Killings) (2009). The Belgian author has made his main character, a chief inspector from Antwerp, work for Europol in this novel. He is investigating some murders committed in the area between Barcelona in Spain and Perpignan in the south of France. The victims are young girls killed in a style which has resemblance to some of Salvador Dalí’s paintings.

• Martin de Wolf, Die Orlandi Verschwörung (The Orlandi Conspiracy) (2009) German. Daniella Romanue, a Europol investigator, and an American professor are trying to trace a file on the Shroud of Turin. They come across murder and a link to the attempted murder of Pope Johannes Paul II in 1983.

• Julia Navarro, The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud (2008). Marco Valoni, the head of the Italian Art Crimes Department has been sent to investigate a suspicious fire at Turin’s Cathedral and an incinerated body is discovered. Europol and CIA are assisting.

• Troels Oerting Joergensen, Operation Gamma (2007). Danish Thriller on organised crime and terrorism in Denmark. The detective Christian Lange is using Europol and the Europol liaison officer network for support.

• Gene Kerrigan, The Midnight Choir (2007). Harry Synnott, an Irish detective whose unyielding moral rectitude has alienated most of his fellow cops, is up for a promotion to Europol.

• Corbeyran, Guérineau, Defali & Medon, Le Syndrome de Hyde (2007) French. Comic book. Iran, 1883. At the time of the opening of a tomb, a gas volute is spread, causing the fear and the panic of the archaeologists. Two hundred years later, Franck, inspector of Europol, is in charge of the investigation.

• Ilkka Remes, 6/12 (The Hostages) (2006) Finnish thriller. The two special investigators from Europol, Timo Nortamo and Johanna Vahtera, are dealing with a hostage situation in the palace of the Finnish President on Finland{s Independence Day 6/12. The two main characters are also present in other of Ilkka Remes books.

• Marshall Browne, Inspector Anders and the Blood Vendetta (2006). It is twenty years since the Mafia had Inspector Anders blown up in his car in Rome, and eighteen months since Anders has been in Italy. The killing of two right-wing Italian politicians one month apart has resulted in Anders’ Europol chief sending the one-legged investigator back to Milan where he will be in most danger.

• Stephen Booth, Scared to Live (2006) For DS Diane Fry and DC Ben Cooper, the ordinary always means trouble. With a little help from Europol, they discover some of the reasons why people can be scared to live - and the connection at the heart of the enquiry proves to be the most surprising revelation of all.

• Taavi Soininvaara, Pimeyden ydin (Finnish Tango) (2005). Riita Kuurma who is the colleague and former girlfriend of the main character Arto Ratamo is returning to Finland after having worked some years for Europol in The Hague. She was more or less ending her relationship with Arto Ratamo when she left for Europol some years earlier. This was described in Koston komissio (Finnish Requiem) (2002).

• DOA, Les Fous d'Avril (2004). A science-fiction like novel set in Paris 2019 which tells the story of a young Europol cop, Markus Frey, who is on the track of a psychopathic killer.

• Naoki Urasawa, Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka , Volume 1 (Manga) (2003). Pluto follows the Europol robot detective Gesicht in his attempts to solve the case of a string of robot and human deaths. The case becomes more puzzling when evidence suggests a robot is responsible for the murders.

• In the Japanese (Manga series 2002 - ) Gunslinger Girl , one of the main characters, Hilshire, is an ex-Europol agent. Hillshire had to leave Europol because he let a mob boss go in exchange for information on where some children were kept caught.

• Arne Dahl, Europa blues (2001). Swedish. Europol is of great help in this novel to a team of investigators who are dealing with a very complicate case involving several murders, links to Greek mythology and secret research carried out by the Nazis.

• Brian Freemantle, Mind Reader (1998). The main character is Dr. Claudine Carter, an Anglo-French forensic psychologist and criminal profiler who works for Europol.

See also


  1. ^ Europol to become EU agency in 2010 at China View, retrieved on April 18, 2008
  2. ^ Europol to become EU agency in 2010 at People's Daily Online, retrieved on April 19, 2008
  3. ^ "Article 28(1) Europol Convention" (PDF). Europol. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-08.  
  4. ^ "Articles 31 and 32 Europol Convention" (PDF). Europol. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-08.  

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. The criminal intelligence agency of the European Union


Proper noun


  1. Europol


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