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Parliamentary questions
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13 April 2021
Answer given by Ms Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000354/2021

France and the Netherlands, with the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), established a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on criminal activities involving the use of the EncroChat communications network. Determining whether a certain conduct was criminal is for national courts. Member States decide on the processing and release of such information, as per the Europol Regulation(1) and the law enforcement Directive(2).

Europol stated that it had not developed software to intercept communication exchanged through the EncroChat communications network. The support of Europol involved operational analysis, technical support and expertise for the JIT.

Competent national authorities must assess the legality of the services provided by EncroChat. The Commission was informed by Europol that over 1 800 suspects had been arrested, over 200 threat-to-life situations prevented, cash valued at more than EUR 130 million seized and hundreds of investigations initiated in the EU and beyond.

(1)Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA.
(2)Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA.
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