Friday

15th Feb 2019

Denmark clinches Europol 'backdoor' deal

  • Denmark will have access 24/7 to Europol's databases through Danish-speaking officers based in the agency's headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands (Photo: Søren Storm Hansen)

Denmark is leaving Europol on Monday (1 May), but thanks to a last-minute agreement it will still have access to EU police agency's databases.

The decision to leave was taken by Danish voters in a referendum in December 2015, when they decided to keep a so-called opt-out from EU cooperation on justice and home affairs issues.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The government and the EU immediately sought to guarantee some Danish participation in the agency's work.

According to the cooperation agreement signed on Saturday, Denmark will still have 24/7 access to Europol's databases through Danish-speaking officers based in the agency's headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

Danish police and Europol will continue to share information and analysis. They will also assist each other "in connection with the establishment and work in joint investigation teams, including joint investigation teams established with other co-member states".

Europol will have to disclose information "if absolutely necessary to prevent an imminent life threat".

Denmark will also be able to participate in Europol's board meetings, having an observer status but without voting rights.

"The solution agreed with Denmark is a tailor-made arrangement allowing for a sufficient level of cooperation," EU home affairs and security commissioners, Dimitris Avramopoulos and Julian King, said in a statement.

"I am very pleased with the deal that has been concluded. We have worked hard for it," Danish prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said in Brussels on Saturday.

'Ad-hoc solution'

He said the deal was not "a parallel agreement" to keep Denmark in Europol despite the popular vote.

"We are leaving Europol. We are no longer a member of Europol," he said.

The deal had been approved by the Danish and European Parliament on Thursday. EU member states rubber-stamped it on Friday through a written procedure.

The agreement had been put forward by the European Commission last year. It had been described by Rasmussen as a "back door" to Europol after the Danes had "thrown away" the keys to the main door.

Also on Thursday, the Danish parliament passed a law on data protection that was required by the EU to conclude the new Europol accord.

Diplomatic sources said on Saturday that cooperation has been good between EU institutions and the Danish government. The commission, in particular, helped to draft the text and "did much to accommodate" Copenhagen.

"Danes voted between having access to a buffet and stop eating," one EU source joked. "After the vote they realised they were alone, so we had to cobble together an ad-hoc solution".

Denmark was added earlier this year on the list of third countries with which Europol can strike cooperations agreements.

Review in 2020

The cooperation will be reviewed by the Commission in 2020 and can continue only if Denmark remains a member of the EU and the passport-free Schengen area.

As an EU member, and contrary to Schengen-member Norway or other countries on Europol's cooperation list, Denmark is not obliged to justify why it asks access to the agency's databases.

Europol currently has 28 member states and co-operates with 12 so-called third countries, including Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland.

Starting from Monday, the police agency operates under a new regulation that gives it extended powers in the fight against cross-border crime, terrorism, and cybercrime, in particular by making it easier to set up specialised units and to serve as a hub for EU national agencies.

The entry into force of the new regulation was the reason why Denmark, due to the "opt-outs" it got in 1992 after the EU adopted the Maastricht treaty, had to choose whether to remain or not in the agency.

Late last year, the UK, which also had an opt-out, decided to remain a full member of Europol despite Brexit.

Europol's boss, Rob Wainwright, is British.

EU offers Denmark backdoor to Europol

Denmark's government and political parties are examining a draft agreement that would secure links with Europol starting May 2017, in a follow-up to a referendum last year that rejected full membership into the EU law enforcement agency.

UK to remain in Europol for now

The British government has announced it will opt in to the EU police agency's new regulation after May 2017

EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency

A resolution demanding Saudi Arabia release prisoners and stop gender-based violence was passed by over 500 MEPs on Thursday in Strasbourg. They also demanded greater transparency over Brussels-based lobbying for the Saudis, following an EUobserver exclusive.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us