Friday

22nd Jun 2018

Merger of EU police agencies draws opposition

  • The merger idea was floated late January (Photo: © European Community, 2005)

The European Commission may consider a recommendation to merge the European Police College, Cepol in the UK, with the EU police agency Europol in The Hague.

The commission’s spokesperson for home affairs Michele Cercone told this website in an email on Monday (18 February) that “the issue is currently being evaluated” but would not disclose further detail.

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.

... our join as a group

EUobserver understands the commission could also propose a partial merger or recommend Cepol remains an independent agency. Cepol has a staff of around 30.

The merger idea was floated late January when Europol chief Rob Wainwright told UK ministers the commission’s proposal, scheduled to be tabled sometime in March, was already meeting resistance from some euro-deputies.

“At the moment the relevant committee in the European Parliament has so far expressed a relatively hostile opinion to that possibility,” said Wainwright on 29 January at a House of Lords committee hearing.

Wainwright said the merger proposal is part of a larger commission legislative regulation that “will modernise some of our capabilities to receive and exchange information.”

The Europol director opposes the merger. He said it would create an inter-institutional ruckus between member states and the parliament.

“I am not highly enthusiastic about it. That is not to say that I do not support it,” said Wainwright.

“If the deal is to take another large task but still no more funds, then I would rather not have it at all,” he said.

Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie In't Veld said a merger would have some benefit. She noted that having the agencies in one location would facilitate exchange and cooperation.

"If Europol is to develop into a fully fledged "federal" police force, it would seem sensible to have high level in-house training facilities," she told EUobserver in an email.

But deputies in 2010 already refused to grant the UK-based police college discharge over administrative difficulties stemming from bad budget management, human resources, procurement procedures and rules governing expenditure on courses.

It was the first time the parliament had docked a EU agency budget.

Cepol’s next discharge report for 2011 is scheduled for a vote on Thursday in the parliament’s civil liberties committee before it moves onto the budgetary control committee who get the final say.

Cepol’s spokesperson Claire Bose told this website that the agency has since addressed all the shortcomings listed by the parliament’s critical discharge report.

“The next discharge should be smooth,” said Bose.

The two police agencies already work together on serious and organised crime training programmes. Last year, they coordinated 25 courses on joint investigation teams, trafficking in human beings, cybercrime and fraud and confiscation of assets.

The merger idea has yet to be officially debated within the parliament’s civil liberties committee.

"I'm still fairly sceptical about the merger. So far, Europol and Cepol have very different tasks," said German Green MEP Ska Keller. The MEP noted the commission, however, may produce a convincing argument.

"In any case, this would need a proper debate and not just a side note at the discharge procedures," said Keller.

Draft opinion amendments tabled in late January by the euro-deputies on Cepol’s upcoming discharge report note that the agency’s premises in Bramshill were also due to close at the end of 2012.

Cepol is still in Bramshill with a lease that ends in March 2014 but the UK home office plans to sell the site.

“The commission knows about this so I guess they will take that into consideration when they formulate their recommendation,” said Bose.

Bose pointed out that their lease is renewed annually and until the site is sold, they will remain in Bramshil.

The MEP amendments also note that Cepol's performance is better overall but that concerns still remain over its budget planning and recruitment transparency.

EU police agency uncovers football-fixing ring

A "sophisticated organised crime operation" stretching all the way to Asia bribed officials and rigged over 380 football matches in Europe, generating €8 million.

EU wants stronger police agency

The Union's joint police agency, Europol, is to see its powers expand and its performance put under stronger oversight under new EU commission proposals.

Investigation

UK unlawfully copying data from EU police system

The British government is abusing EU travel security systems, making and using illegal copies of outdated information, and putting innocent people at risk of being red-flagged.

Feature

EU and Turkey fight for 'lost generation'

Some 300,000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey are not enrolled in classes. Fears they may end up in sweatshops or forced to beg have triggered efforts by the EU, Unicef, and the Turkish government to keep them in school.

News in Brief

  1. EU closes deficit procedure against France
  2. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  3. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  4. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  5. EU adopts posted workers directive
  6. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI
  7. May passes Brexit bill after rebels accept compromise
  8. Pope: populists 'creating a psychosis' on migrants

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  2. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  4. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  7. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  9. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  10. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  12. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us