What is Europol?

The European law enforcement agency (Europol) has to improve the capabilities of and cooperation between the authorised services of Member States so that international organized crime can be dealt with effectively, such as:

  • terrorism;
  • drug trafficking;
  • trafficking of human beings;
  • illegal immigration networks;
  • illicit trafficking of radio-active and nuclear materials;
  • trade of stolen vehicles;
  • fraud and counterfeiting of means of payment;
  • money laundering.

Europol does not have the same executive powers as the police services of Member States and therefore cannot arrest persons or conduct searches. Europol has to facilitate information exchange, analyse this information and coordinate operations between Member States.

With regard to police cooperation between Member States, Europol specifically has to:

  • facilitate information exchange between member states;
  • collect and analyse information and intelligence;
  • communicate information through national units to the relevant authorised services of Member States and notify them immediately about the identified connections between criminal offences;
  • facilitate investigations in Member States;
  • manage the automated collection of information;
  • assist Member States in the training of the staff of the competent authorities;
  • facilitate technical support between the Member States;
  • be the contact point in the fight against counterfeiting of the euro.