Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstadinides
Chapter 22: Europol
This chapter on Europol examines the agency’s development and the possible impact of its assistance and intelligence service on national law enforcement authorities. This analysis takes place against the background that Europol was not designed to be a ‘European FBI’ or a cross-border ‘bluecoat’ police force, but was rather formed with a view to facilitate data exchange and to provide intelligence support. Thereby, it will highlight the EU agency’s potential to shape European criminal policy through its mandate to collect, search and analyse large amounts of data, and its impact on the harmonization of cross-border law enforcement. Despite the EU Member States’ plan to designate Europol as an assistance unit only, its mere existence has incited much debate on a number of issues relating to justice and home affairs over the last two decades, including the debate an the EU’s mandate in crime control, discussions on the political and judicial accountability of European agencies, and more recently, the struggle surrounding data security and privacy in the age of data mining as a means of combating terrorism and other forms of transnational crime. The establishment of the European Cybercrime Centre is arguably a logical first step in a truly European response to new types of cross-border crime, but it brings with it new challenges as well.
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