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Council Decision of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office (Europol) (2009/371/JHA)

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CHAPTER IU.K.+E.U. ESTABLISHMENT AND TASKS

Article 1U.K.+E.U.Establishment

1.This Decision replaces the provisions of the Convention based on Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on the establishment of a European Police Office (Europol Convention).

Europol shall have its seat in The Hague, the Netherlands.

2.Europol, as referred to in this Decision, shall be regarded as the legal successor of Europol, as established by the Europol Convention.

3.Europol shall liaise with a single national unit in each Member State, to be established or designated in accordance with Article 8.

Article 2U.K.+E.U.Legal capacity

1.Europol shall have legal personality.

2.In each Member State Europol shall enjoy the most extensive legal and contractual capacity accorded to legal persons under that Member State’s law. Europol may, in particular, acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property and may be a party to legal proceedings.

3.Europol shall be empowered to conclude a Headquarters Agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Article 3U.K.+E.U.Objective

The objective of Europol shall be to support and strengthen action by the competent authorities of the Member States and their mutual cooperation in preventing and combating organised crime, terrorism and other forms of serious crime affecting two or more Member States.

For the purposes of this Decision, ‘competent authorities’ shall mean all public bodies existing in the Member States which are responsible under national law for preventing and combating criminal offences.

Article 4U.K.+E.U.Competence

1.Europol’s competence shall cover organised crime, terrorism and other forms of serious crime as listed in the Annex affecting two or more Member States in such a way as to require a common approach by the Member States owing to the scale, significance and consequences of the offences.

2.On a recommendation by the Management Board, the Council shall lay down its priorities for Europol, taking particular account of strategic analyses and threat assessments prepared by Europol.

3.Europol’s competence shall also cover related criminal offences. The following offences shall be regarded as related criminal offences:

(a)

criminal offences committed in order to procure the means of perpetrating acts in respect of which Europol is competent;

(b)

criminal offences committed in order to facilitate or carry out acts in respect of which Europol is competent;

(c)

criminal offences committed to ensure the impunity of acts in respect of which Europol is competent.

Article 5U.K.+E.U.Tasks

1.Europol shall have the following principal tasks:

(a)

to collect, store, process, analyse and exchange information and intelligence;

(b)

to notify the competent authorities of the Member States without delay via the national unit referred to in Article 8 of information concerning them and of any connections identified between criminal offences;

(c)

to aid investigations in the Member States, in particular by forwarding all relevant information to the national units;

(d)

to ask the competent authorities of the Member States concerned to initiate, conduct or coordinate investigations and to suggest the setting up of joint investigation teams in specific cases;

(e)

to provide intelligence and analytical support to Member States in connection with major international events;

(f)

to prepare threat assessments, strategic analyses and general situation reports relating to its objective, including organised crime threat assessments.

2.The tasks referred to in paragraph 1 shall include providing support to Member States in their tasks of gathering and analysing information from the Internet in order to assist in the identification of criminal activities facilitated by or committed using the Internet.

3.Europol shall have the following additional tasks:

(a)

to develop specialist knowledge of the investigative procedures of the competent authorities of the Member States and to provide advice on investigations;

(b)

to provide strategic intelligence to assist and promote the efficient and effective use of the resources available at national and Union level for operational activities and the support of such activities.

4.Additionally, in the context of its objective under Article 3, Europol may, in accordance with the staffing and budgetary resources at its disposal and within the limits set by the Management Board, assist Member States through support, advice and research in the following areas:

(a)

the training of members of their competent authorities, where appropriate in cooperation with the European Police College;

(b)

the organisation and equipment of those authorities by facilitating the provision of technical support between the Member States;

(c)

crime prevention methods;

(d)

technical and forensic methods and analysis, and investigative procedures.

5.Europol shall also act as the Central Office for combating euro counterfeiting in accordance with Council Decision 2005/511/JHA of 12 July 2005 on protecting the euro against counterfeiting, by designating Europol as the Central Office for combating euro counterfeiting(1). Europol may also encourage the coordination of measures carried out in order to fight euro counterfeiting by the competent authorities of the Member States or in the context of joint investigation teams, where appropriate in liaison with Union entities and third States’ bodies. Upon request, Europol may financially support investigations of euro counterfeiting.

Article 6U.K.+E.U.Participation in joint investigation teams

1.Europol staff may participate in supporting capacity in joint investigation teams, including such teams set up in accordance with Article 1 of Council Framework Decision 2002/465/JHA of 13 June 2002 on joint investigation teams(2), in accordance with Article 13 of the Convention of 29 May 2000 on mutual assistance in criminal matters between the Member States of the European Union(3), or in accordance with Article 24 of the Convention of 18 December 1997 on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations(4), in so far as those teams are investigating criminal offences in respect of which Europol is competent under Article 4 of this Decision.

Europol staff may, within the limits provided for by the law of the Member States in which a joint investigation team is operating and in accordance with the arrangement referred to in paragraph 2, assist in all activities and exchange information with all members of the joint investigation team, in accordance with paragraph 4. They shall not, however, take part in the taking of any coercive measures.

2.The administrative implementation of participation by Europol staff in a joint investigation team shall be laid down in an arrangement between the Director and the competent authorities of the Member States participating in the joint investigation team, with the involvement of the national units. The rules governing such arrangements shall be determined by the Management Board.

3.The rules referred to in paragraph 2 shall specify the conditions under which Europol staff are placed at the disposal of the joint investigation team.

4.In accordance with the arrangement referred to in paragraph 2, Europol staff may liaise directly with members of a joint investigation team and provide members and seconded members of the joint investigation team, in accordance with this Decision, with information from any of the components of the information processing systems referred to in Article 10. In the event of such direct liaison, Europol shall at the same time inform the national units of the Member States represented in the team as well as those of the Member States which provided the information thereof.

5.Information obtained by a Europol staff member while part of a joint investigation team may, with the consent and under the responsibility of the Member State which provided the information, be included in any of the components of the information processing systems referred to in Article 10 under the conditions laid down in this Decision.

6.During the operations of a joint investigation team, Europol staff shall, with respect to offences committed against or by them, be subject to the national law of the Member State of operation applicable to persons with comparable functions.

Article 7U.K.+E.U.Requests by Europol for the initiation of criminal investigations

1.Member States shall deal with any request by Europol to initiate, conduct or coordinate investigations in specific cases and shall give such requests due consideration. The Member States shall inform Europol whether the investigation requested will be initiated.

2.Before making a request for the initiation of criminal investigations, Europol shall inform Eurojust accordingly.

3.If the competent authorities of the Member State decide not to comply with a request made by Europol, they shall inform Europol of their decision and of the reasons therefor unless they are unable to give their reasons because:

(a)

to do so would harm essential national security interests; or

(b)

to do so would jeopardise the success of investigations under way or the safety of individuals.

4.Replies to requests by Europol for the initiation, conduct or coordination of investigations in specific cases and information for Europol concerning the results of investigations shall be forwarded through the competent authorities of the Member States in accordance with the rules laid down in this Decision and the relevant national legislation.

Article 8U.K.+E.U.National units

1.Each Member State shall establish or designate a national unit responsible for carrying out the tasks set out in this Article. An official shall be appointed in each Member State as the head of the national unit.

2.The national unit shall be the only liaison body between Europol and the competent authorities of the Member States. Member States, however, may allow direct contacts between designated competent authorities and Europol subject to conditions determined by the Member State in question, including prior involvement of the national unit.

The national unit shall at the same time receive from Europol any information exchanged in the course of direct contacts between Europol and designated competent authorities. Relations between the national unit and the competent authorities shall be governed by national law, and in particular, the relevant national constitutional requirements.

3.Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that their national units are able to fulfil their tasks and, in particular, have access to relevant national data.

4.The national units shall:

(a)

supply Europol on their own initiative with the information and intelligence necessary for it to carry out its tasks;

(b)

respond to Europol’s requests for information, intelligence and advice;

(c)

keep information and intelligence up to date;

(d)

evaluate information and intelligence in accordance with national law for the competent authorities and transmit that material to them;

(e)

issue requests for advice, information, intelligence and analysis to Europol;

(f)

supply Europol with information for storage in its databases;

(g)

ensure compliance with the law in every exchange of information between themselves and Europol.

5.Without prejudice to the Member States’ discharging the responsibilities incumbent upon them with regard to the maintenance of law and order and the safeguarding of internal security, a national unit shall not in any particular case be obliged to supply information or intelligence if that would entail:

(a)

harming essential national security interests;

(b)

jeopardising the success of a current investigation or the safety of individuals; or

(c)

disclosing information relating to organisations or specific intelligence activities in the field of State security.

6.The costs incurred by the national units in communications with Europol shall be borne by the Member States and, apart from the costs of connection, shall not be charged to Europol.

7.The heads of the national units shall meet on a regular basis to assist Europol on operational matters, on their own initiative or at the request of the Management Board or the Director, in particular to:

(a)

consider and develop proposals that will improve Europol’s operational effectiveness and encourage commitment from Member States;

(b)

evaluate the reports and analyses drafted by Europol in accordance with Article 5(1)(f) and develop measures in order to help to implement their findings;

(c)

provide support in the establishment of joint investigation teams involving Europol in accordance with Article 5(1)(d) and Article 6.

Article 9U.K.+E.U.Liaison officers

1.Each national unit shall second at least one liaison officer to Europol. Except as otherwise stipulated in specific provisions of this Decision, liaison officers shall be subject to the national law of the seconding Member State.

2.Liaison officers shall constitute the national liaison bureaux at Europol and shall be instructed by their national units to represent the interests of the latter within Europol in accordance with the national law of the seconding Member State and the provisions applicable to the administration of Europol.

3.Without prejudice to Article 8(4) and (5), liaison officers shall:

(a)

provide Europol with information from the seconding national unit;

(b)

forward information from Europol to the seconding national unit;

(c)

cooperate with Europol staff by providing information and giving advice; and

(d)

assist in the exchange of information from their national units with the liaison officers of other Member States under their responsibility in accordance with national law. Such bilateral exchanges may also cover crimes outwith the competence of Europol, as far as allowed by national law.

4.Article 35 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the activities of liaison officers.

5.The rights and obligations of liaison officers in relation to Europol shall be determined by the Management Board.

6.Liaison officers shall enjoy the privileges and immunities necessary for the performance of their tasks in accordance with Article 51(2).

7.Europol shall ensure that liaison officers are fully informed of and associated with all of its activities, as far as that is compatible with their position.

8.Europol shall provide Member States free of charge with the necessary premises in the Europol building and adequate support for the performance of the activities of their liaison officers. All other costs which arise in connection with the secondment of liaison officers shall be borne by the seconding Member State, including the costs of equipment for liaison officers, unless the Management Board recommends otherwise in specific cases when drawing up Europol’s budget.

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