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 Full text 
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 - Strasbourg Revised edition

EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) (debate)

  Timothy Kirkhope, on behalf of the ECR Group. Madam President, Europol needs new tools to face new challenges. Today, after a long period of negotiation, we are finally providing ourselves a renewed mandate to tackle the huge security challenges we all face. Under the excellent leadership of Rob Wainwright, Europol has become a critical hub for cooperation, operational support and intelligence exchange throughout the EU. This regulation gives Europol the legal tools needed to respond more swiftly to threats and it gives our constituents and our Member States confidence that Europol is conforming to extremely high standards of data protection and transparency. It allows MEPs and national parliaments to keep watch over their actions to ensure accountability, something which can only strengthen trust in our law enforcement cooperation across the Union. More importantly, this regulation gives a solid basis for the work of Europol’s Internet Referral Unit to be stepped up. With terrorist organisations increasingly using social media as a recruitment tool, and thousands of Twitter and Facebook accounts being created for recruitment purposes, we need to work together to take down this material as soon as it is posted.

Through this regulation, Europol can work directly with social media providers – providers who have frankly too often washed their hands of responsibility for the propaganda posted on their platforms. Europol is not a European FBI, and it does not need to be. It should continue to operate as a hub for information exchange and for cooperation and coordination amongst all of those in law enforcement.

Our fight against terrorism and serious crime is one where we are too often several steps behind our enemy. This regulation is an important step in closing that gap. Europol has made Europe and the UK a safer place for nearly 20 years, and, Mr Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, I congratulate you on your hard work and your persistence in making sure we get a quality regulation which will aid Europol in its continued fight against human trafficking, child exploitation, terrorism and, of course, smuggling.

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