The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Giovanni Buttarelli and the Director of the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), Rob Wainwright, welcomed the recent adoption by the European Parliament of the new Regulation on Europol.
Speaking at the Privacy in the Digital Age of Encryption and Anonymity Online conference hosted at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague, Mr Buttarelli and Mr Wainwright said that the new Regulation boosts Europol's powers to fight terrorism, serious and organised crime and enhances its role as the central hub for information exchange.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “The EU is facing huge security challenges and these require us, more than ever, to hold fast to our values, our fundamental rights and freedoms. The new Regulation modernises the framework for information sharing. It is also well-timed, coinciding with the recent adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Directive for the police and criminal justice sector. With our new role under the Europol Regulation, the EDPS will build upon our extensive experience of the supervision of personal data processing at EU level in the law enforcement sector."
Europol Director, Rob Wainwright, said: "Europol welcomes the adoption of the new Regulation, and thanks the European Parliament, Council of the European Union and the European Commission for placing their trust in a reformed and stronger Europol. The new Regulation will ensure a robust data protection regime for Europol, and will provide the agency with a flexible and modern data management system, which will allow Europol to improve its support to Member States in the fight against terrorism and organised crime."
The new Regulation increases the Agency's accountability and confirms Europol’s strong data protection regime. It sets out that the supervision of Europol will be carried out by the EDPS as of 1 May 2017. National data protection authorities will continue to play an important advisory role as part of a Cooperation Board, of which the EDPS will also be a member.
Mr Buttarelli and Mr Wainwright highlighted that given the major security challenges which Europe is facing today, there is an urgent need for EU Member States to improve analysis and efficient information sharing - and to uphold the values and freedoms set out in the Charter for Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Europol is the EU's law enforcement agency, assisting national authorities by exchanging information, intelligence analyses and threats assessments. The agency deals with terrorism and international crime such as cybercrime, drug smuggling and people trafficking. With a staff of over 1000 members, Europol headquarters are in The Hague, Netherlands.