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Europol: The EU law enforcement cooperation agency

19-09-2019

Evolving from informal police cooperation in the 1970s to a fully fledged European Union (EU) agency with a strengthened mandate under its new legal basis (Regulation (EU) 2016/794), Europol's mandate is to strengthen EU Member States' competent authorities and ensure their cooperation for the purpose of 'preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy'. The agency is therefore empowered ...

Evolving from informal police cooperation in the 1970s to a fully fledged European Union (EU) agency with a strengthened mandate under its new legal basis (Regulation (EU) 2016/794), Europol's mandate is to strengthen EU Member States' competent authorities and ensure their cooperation for the purpose of 'preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy'. The agency is therefore empowered to tackle more than 30 forms of serious crime and related criminal offences, including terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking in arms and ammunition. To fulfil its objectives, Europol carries out a series of tasks, including the core activities of performing as the EU criminal information exchange hub and providing operational support and expertise to Member States' criminal investigations. To frame Europol's activities, the Europol Regulation strengthens its data management and data protection rules and provides for enhanced scrutiny: political scrutiny – by a new parliamentary oversight body made up of representatives of the European Parliament and Member States' national parliaments; and scrutiny of its data processing operations – by the European Data Protection Supervisor. Furthermore, the Regulation reforms the framework for Europol's cooperation with partners such as third countries and international organisations, which also allows for an increased role for the Commission and the European Parliament. On the occasion of Europol's 20th anniversary, this briefing provides a timeline of the agency's establishment and consolidation; an overview of its competences, structure and functioning under the current legal framework; as well as some elements related to further developments.

Use of financial data for preventing and combatting serious crime

19-07-2019

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The ...

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The proposal also aims to strengthen domestic and cross-border exchange of information between EU Member States' competent authorities, including law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units, as well as with Europol. The provisional agreement reached in February 2019 in interinstitutional negotiations was adopted by the European Parliament on 17 April 2019, followed by the Council on 14 June. On 20 June 2019, the directive was signed into law and then published in the Official Journal on 11 July. Member States have until 1 August 2021 to transpose its provisions into national law.

Ratifying the EU-UK withdrawal deal: State of play and possible scenarios

08-04-2019

On 14 November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) negotiators announced their approval of the legal agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. At a special European Council meeting on 25 November 2018, EU leaders endorsed the draft withdrawal agreement, as well as the text of a non-binding political declaration setting out the framework for the future EU-UK relationship. While the process of approving the withdrawal deal (the agreement and the political declaration) began ...

On 14 November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) negotiators announced their approval of the legal agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. At a special European Council meeting on 25 November 2018, EU leaders endorsed the draft withdrawal agreement, as well as the text of a non-binding political declaration setting out the framework for the future EU-UK relationship. While the process of approving the withdrawal deal (the agreement and the political declaration) began rapidly in both the UK and the EU, it immediately met with significant difficulties in the UK. In particular, the House of Commons' rejection of the withdrawal deal in the 'meaningful vote' of 15 January 2019, led to renewed UK attempts at renegotiation. Although the EU and the UK eventually agreed additional guarantees with respect to the Ireland/Northern Ireland backstop, the withdrawal deal was again voted down on 12 March 2019. Faced with the prospect of a 'no deal exit' on 29 March 2019, the initial Brexit date, the UK government, as instructed by the House of Commons, eventually requested an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period. On 22 March, the European Council extended the UK's EU Membership until 22 May 2019, on the condition that the UK parliament approved the withdrawal agreement by 29 March. As the House of Commons rejected the withdrawal agreement for a third time, the new Brexit date was instead set, under that European Council decision, at 12 April 2019. With a 'no deal' Brexit becoming a highly likely scenario, both sides stepped up their contingency planning. However, other outcomes remain possible, in particular a further Article 50 extension, given the UK Prime Minister's request of 5 April. The EU-27 are set to decide on this within the European Council on 10 April 2019, most likely on the basis of conditions set for the UK. While a parallel process for establishing a majority for an alternative solution to the negotiated deal is under way in Westminster, its outcome remains uncertain. Finally, although rejected by the government, the UK still has the option to unilaterally revoke its notification to withdraw from the EU, or to organise another referendum on the issue (the latter dependent on an extension). Please see also the parallel Briefing, Brexit: Understanding the withdrawal agreement and political declaration, of March 2019 (PE 635.595). And visit the European Parliament homepage on Brexit negotiations.

Brexit: Understanding the withdrawal agreement and political declaration

20-03-2019

In November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) endorsed, at leaders’ level, an agreement that would ensure an orderly UK withdrawal from the EU on 30 March 2019, as well as a political declaration setting out the main parameters of the future EU-UK relationship. The withdrawal agreement is an extensive legal document aiming, among other things, to preserve the essential rights of UK nationals living in the EU-27 and EU citizens living in the UK; to ensure that all financial ...

In November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) endorsed, at leaders’ level, an agreement that would ensure an orderly UK withdrawal from the EU on 30 March 2019, as well as a political declaration setting out the main parameters of the future EU-UK relationship. The withdrawal agreement is an extensive legal document aiming, among other things, to preserve the essential rights of UK nationals living in the EU-27 and EU citizens living in the UK; to ensure that all financial commitments vis-à-vis the EU undertaken while the UK was a Member State are respected; and to conclude in an orderly manner ongoing processes in various areas (e.g. circulation of goods already on the market and ongoing judicial procedures). Importantly, the agreement establishes a 21-month transition period, extendable once, to help businesses and citizens to adapt to the new circumstances, and the EU and UK to negotiate their future partnership agreements. During this time, the UK will be treated as a Member State, but without any EU decision-making and representation rights. Furthermore, one of the agreement’s three protocols, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland contains a legally operational ‘backstop’, aiming to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland in the future. It has long been the most contested aspect of the withdrawal deal. The political declaration, by contrast, is a non-binding text, providing the basis for future EU-UK economic and security cooperation, taking into account both sides’ red lines and principles. With just days to go to the Brexit deadline, the procedures to approve the withdrawal deal have still not been finalised, due to continuing opposition within the UK Parliament. While extending the Article 50 negotiating period now appears highly likely, all scenarios are still possible, including the UK leaving the EU without a deal at the end of March 2019.

Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders

12-12-2018

In order to respond more effectively to the challenge of criminals and terrorists hiding assets in other Member States, in 2016 the European Commission proposed a regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders in criminal matters. The directly applicable instrument removes the need for national transposition, broadens the scope of the current rules to cover new types of confiscation and includes provisions on victims' rights to restitution and compensation. In June 2018, ...

In order to respond more effectively to the challenge of criminals and terrorists hiding assets in other Member States, in 2016 the European Commission proposed a regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders in criminal matters. The directly applicable instrument removes the need for national transposition, broadens the scope of the current rules to cover new types of confiscation and includes provisions on victims' rights to restitution and compensation. In June 2018, provisional agreement was reached in interinstitutional negotiations and the European Parliament voted the agreed text on 4 October 2018. The Council followed suit on 6 November 2018. The final act was signed on 14 November and published in the Official Journal of the EU on 28 November 2018. The regulation will apply 24 months after its entry into force, namely from 19 December 2020. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Nakazy zabezpieczenia i konfiskaty mienia

26-09-2018

W 2016 r. Komisja Europejska zaproponowała nowe rozporządzenie mające na celu udoskonalenie ram prawnych UE dotyczących zabezpieczenia i konfiskaty mienia pochodzącego z działalności przestępczej w sprawach transgranicznych. Obejmuje ono nowe rodzaje nakazów konfiskaty, przyspiesza procedury oraz zapewnia ofiarom prawo do odszkodowania i zwrotu mienia. Głosowanie w Parlamencie Europejskim nad tekstem uzgodnionym w negocjacjach trójstronnych powinno się odbyć w czasie pierwszej sesji plenarnej w październiku ...

W 2016 r. Komisja Europejska zaproponowała nowe rozporządzenie mające na celu udoskonalenie ram prawnych UE dotyczących zabezpieczenia i konfiskaty mienia pochodzącego z działalności przestępczej w sprawach transgranicznych. Obejmuje ono nowe rodzaje nakazów konfiskaty, przyspiesza procedury oraz zapewnia ofiarom prawo do odszkodowania i zwrotu mienia. Głosowanie w Parlamencie Europejskim nad tekstem uzgodnionym w negocjacjach trójstronnych powinno się odbyć w czasie pierwszej sesji plenarnej w październiku.

The future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom: Negotiating a framework for relations after Brexit

25-09-2018

Following the European Council's additional guidelines of March 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have started discussions on their future relationship after Brexit. The aim is to agree on a political framework for their future partnership by autumn 2018, to be adopted alongside the withdrawal agreement. Conclusion of a treaty or treaties establishing future EU-UK relations will only take place after the UK leaves the Union and becomes a third country. Both parties have expressed ...

Following the European Council's additional guidelines of March 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have started discussions on their future relationship after Brexit. The aim is to agree on a political framework for their future partnership by autumn 2018, to be adopted alongside the withdrawal agreement. Conclusion of a treaty or treaties establishing future EU-UK relations will only take place after the UK leaves the Union and becomes a third country. Both parties have expressed the desire to remain in a close partnership, which would cover several areas including trade and economic matters, internal security, foreign and security policy, and cooperation on defence. This study looks at the respective aims for, and principles underpinning, the negotiations, as expressed publicly to date by each party, and analyses some of the legal constraints and existing practices or precedents shaping EU cooperation with third-country partners. This allows assessment of the possibilities and limits of any future EU-UK partnership, in light of the stated objectives and 'red lines' officially announced, leading to the conclusion that, notwithstanding several common aims, significant divergences still persist with respect to the means of achieving the stated objectives.

The EU-UK withdrawal agreement: Progress to date and remaining difficulties

12-07-2018

With the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union in less than one year's time, negotiations to finalise a withdrawal agreement, as provided for under Article 50 TEU, are coming up against an increasingly tight deadline. Recent progress in agreeing a number of key 'exit' issues prompted the decision to begin discussions on the future EU-UK relationship. However, significant challenges still remain before the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement, on which the transition period requested by the ...

With the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union in less than one year's time, negotiations to finalise a withdrawal agreement, as provided for under Article 50 TEU, are coming up against an increasingly tight deadline. Recent progress in agreeing a number of key 'exit' issues prompted the decision to begin discussions on the future EU-UK relationship. However, significant challenges still remain before the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement, on which the transition period requested by the UK also depends. This EPRS In-depth Analysis considers the draft withdrawal agreement published by the European Commission on 19 March 2018, as well as the (few) additional points settled in negotiations in the period up to June 2018. It seeks to provide an overview of the main areas already settled by the negotiators, as well as of those areas of persisting difficulty or disagreement.

Framework for future EU-UK relations

09-03-2018

The European Parliament will hold a debate and vote a resolution setting out its proposals on the future relationship with the United Kingdom after Brexit, during its March plenary session. It thus aims to feed into the guidelines the European Council is expected to adopt on 22 March, on opening exploratory discussions with the UK on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship.

The European Parliament will hold a debate and vote a resolution setting out its proposals on the future relationship with the United Kingdom after Brexit, during its March plenary session. It thus aims to feed into the guidelines the European Council is expected to adopt on 22 March, on opening exploratory discussions with the UK on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship.

The Brexit process: Moving to the second phase of negotiations

20-12-2017

The first phase of Brexit talks between the EU and UK negotiating teams needed six rounds of discussion over seven months. Finally, on Friday 8 December, an agreement in principle on the three priority issues – citizens’ rights, a financial settlement and Northern Ireland – was reached. The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, endorsed a joint report setting out a common understanding on the future withdrawal agreement. Whilst a number of specific ...

The first phase of Brexit talks between the EU and UK negotiating teams needed six rounds of discussion over seven months. Finally, on Friday 8 December, an agreement in principle on the three priority issues – citizens’ rights, a financial settlement and Northern Ireland – was reached. The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, endorsed a joint report setting out a common understanding on the future withdrawal agreement. Whilst a number of specific aspects are still under discussion, the European Council decided on 15 December that 'sufficient progress' had been achieved on the first-phase priority issues, and that negotiations could move on to the second phase – on transitional arrangements and the future EU-UK relationship – provided the commitments from the joint report are fully translated into the draft withdrawal agreement. For the transitional period, the European Parliament and the European Council have made clear that all existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures must apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, but with no UK participation in decision-making, since it would no longer be a member of the EU. Exploratory discussions on the framework for the future relationship will begin only after the adoption by the European Council of additional guidelines in March 2018. The UK has still to clarify its position on the type of trade deal it seeks with the EU.

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