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Implications of new Denmark-Europol arrangements for post-Brexit UK questioned

28 February 2017

The new arrangements for Denmark's participation in Europol may have implications for the UK post-Brexit, says the European Scrutiny Committee in its report chapter, "Europol: agreement with Denmark."

Declaration to "minimise the negative impact of Denmark's departure from Europol"

The new Europol Regulation will take effect on 1 May. Denmark currently participates fully in Europol but cannot participate in the new Regulation as it has a general opt-out of all EU justice and home affairs measures adopted after the Lisbon Treaty took effect in December 2009.

In December 2016, the Presidents of the European Council (Donald Tusk) and European Commission (Jean-Claude Juncker) and the Danish Prime Minister (Lars Løkke Rasmussen) issued a Declaration announcing that Denmark and Europol would agree new operational arrangements, to take effect from 1 May, to "minimise the negative impact of Denmark's departure from Europol". A proposed Council Implementing Decision is the first step in developing these new arrangements. It would designate Denmark as a third (non-EU) country, meaning that Europol would then be able to negotiate a new cooperation agreement.

Unorthodox decision has clear implications for the UK's future relationship

The European Scrutiny Committee says that the unorthodox decision to designate Denmark as a third country has clear implications for the UK's future relationship with Europol once it leaves the EU. The Committee notes that the Declaration issued in December makes clear that the new operational agreements:

"[…] must be Denmark-specific, and not in any way equal full membership of Europol, i.e. provide access to Europol's data repositories, or for full participation in Europol's operational work and database, or give decision-making rights in the governing bodies of Europol. However, it should ensure a sufficient level of operational cooperation including exchange of relevant data, subject to adequate safeguards.

This arrangement would be conditioned on Denmark's continued membership of the European Union and of the Schengen area, on Denmark's obligation to fully implement in Danish law Directive (EU) 2016/680/EU on data protection in police matters by 1 May 2017 and on Denmark's agreement to the application of the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU and the competence of the European Data Protection Supervisor."  

The Committee asks the Government to comment on how any conditions imposed on Denmark, for example in relation to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice or Schengen membership, might affect the scope of any new post-Brexit agreement between the UK and Europol.

The Committee also asks the Government whether it considers that the provisions in the new Europol Regulation on the transfer of personal data to third countries will make it easier or harder for the UK to exchange sensitive law enforcement information with Europol once the UK leaves the EU.

A meeting summary including further Brexit relate issues is published with the report.

Further information

Image: Bill Smith

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