What are the Options for Improving Democratic Control of EuroPol and for Providing it with Adequate Operational Capabilities?

01-02-2006

The question constantly arises whether Europol's operational capabilities should be further developed and if, parallel to this, the democratic control of Europol must be upgraded? The political belief in the future of Europol remains strong, notwithstanding the fact that Europol apparently has difficulties in obtaining its politically and legally assigned position. The Constitutional Treaty and the Hague Program are very ambitious as far as the future of Europol (and Eurojust) is concerned. Parliamentary control of Europol's work in addition to the discussion of broadening Europol's operational capabilities needs to be clarified further. Providing Europol with adequate operational capabilities AND improving democratic control are intrinsically interlinked. Following this logic, and when discussing future models for granting executive powers to Europol, three theoretical models can be distinguished: the joint investigation teams model; the "corpus juris" model (taken from the Commission Green paper on a European public prosecutor); and, the European criminal law model, consisting of creating a real European criminal law system, working together with a European public prosecutor to present cases to European criminal courts. The Constitutional treaty and the Hague program are designing Europol's maximum operational capabilities. The European Parliament has no real powers in deciding legislation affecting the remit or powers of Europol, it cannot reject legislation or propose measures on its own initiative, whereas parliaments in the Member States must approve rules governing the functioning of national agencies. In theory the national Parliaments of the EU Member States and the European Parliament have a mission and a mandate to monitor and evaluate the activities that take place in the framework of Title VI TEU (Police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters), notably the activities of Europol and wherever Member States are supposed to actively participate

The question constantly arises whether Europol's operational capabilities should be further developed and if, parallel to this, the democratic control of Europol must be upgraded? The political belief in the future of Europol remains strong, notwithstanding the fact that Europol apparently has difficulties in obtaining its politically and legally assigned position. The Constitutional Treaty and the Hague Program are very ambitious as far as the future of Europol (and Eurojust) is concerned. Parliamentary control of Europol's work in addition to the discussion of broadening Europol's operational capabilities needs to be clarified further. Providing Europol with adequate operational capabilities AND improving democratic control are intrinsically interlinked. Following this logic, and when discussing future models for granting executive powers to Europol, three theoretical models can be distinguished: the joint investigation teams model; the "corpus juris" model (taken from the Commission Green paper on a European public prosecutor); and, the European criminal law model, consisting of creating a real European criminal law system, working together with a European public prosecutor to present cases to European criminal courts. The Constitutional treaty and the Hague program are designing Europol's maximum operational capabilities. The European Parliament has no real powers in deciding legislation affecting the remit or powers of Europol, it cannot reject legislation or propose measures on its own initiative, whereas parliaments in the Member States must approve rules governing the functioning of national agencies. In theory the national Parliaments of the EU Member States and the European Parliament have a mission and a mandate to monitor and evaluate the activities that take place in the framework of Title VI TEU (Police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters), notably the activities of Europol and wherever Member States are supposed to actively participate