Sunday

18th Nov 2018

EU offers Denmark backdoor to Europol

  • Danes rejected a proposal to fully join the EU's justice and home affairs policies, causing legal problems with Europol. (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Commission has offered Denmark a backdoor to continue Europol cooperation after 1 May 2017, in a follow-up to last year's referendum when a majority of Danes rejected full membership into the EU law enforcement agency.

"It is not optimal. We had the keys to the main door to Europol, the ones we threw away when we voted no in December last year," Danish prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said on Thursday (8 December). "Ever since, we have worked hard to see if we could find a way in through the backdoor instead, and we can."

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

  • A meeting between commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and prime minister Loekke Rasmussen is planned on the margins of next week's EU summit in Brussels. (Photo: European Commission)

Rasmussen was briefing representatives of all the political parties on the draft deal put forward by the commission at a special meeting in the Danish parliament.

According to the draft, Denmark will keep police officers posted at Europol headquarters in The Hague, have indirect access to data and hold observer status in the EU police agency's leading board.

A referendum was held in December last year because Europol's legal status is changing on 1 May 2017.

A majority - 53.1 percent against 46.9 percent - refused to join EU justice and home affairs policies, despite an overall positive attitude towards Europol.

Denmark opted out of large parts of EU policy when ratifying the Maastricht treaty 22 years ago.

The Danish national police, who were asked to respond to the draft deal before the political discussion, concluded that it would be sufficient in the short term.

But the police said that in the longer term, when new technology allow mobile search of Europol databases, Danish police could end up being less efficient in solving crimes across EU borders.

Operational opportunities

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

The UK has decided to join the new Europol on 1 May, despite the Brexit vote on 23 June. Europol's current director Rob Wainwright is British.

With less than five months to go, the process must be very speedy in order settle the issue before Europol changes its status.

Denmark is set to agree with the European Commission to some sort of a third country status. The deal will also need approval from EU justice ministers and a non-binding consultation from the European parliament.

After the meeting, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the Danish People's Party - which led last year's No campaign - said the draft deal had many good elements.

"It offers the police some of the operational opportunities that they hold today. There will be Danish-speaking personnel in Europol, serving Danish police 24 hours a day. And it also provides access to some strategy groups, that are crucial in relation to Europol cooperation," he said.

'Minimising negative effects'

But he said his party would have to scrutinise the text closely, particularly regarding Denmark's relations with the Schengen free-border area, before it could approve the deal.

The party insists on permanent border controls, but the new Europol deal requires full acceptance of Schengen rules, where only temporary controls are allowed.

A meeting between European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and prime minister Loekke Rasmussen on the deal is planned on the margins of next week's EU summit in Brussels.

"I don't think there is an agreement with Denmark yet," the commission's spokesman Margaritis Schinas told journalists on Thursday.

He said the two sides were "working constructively to minimise negative effects of Danish departure of Europol..... with the objective of getting a solution which is operational on 1 May 2017".

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

More jihadi attacks likely in Europe, Europol says

The European joint police agency said that the group had shifted focus to so-called soft targets, because indiscriminate attacks on ordinary people have shown most successful in terrorising public opinion.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us