Home Affairs (Sub-Committee F)

Police and Customs Co-operation

Police and Customs co-operation has become a rapidly expanding area of EU activity in recent years, caused in large part by the removal of internal barriers to movement in the Schengen area, and the rise of cross-border crime. The main focus for this co-operation is Europol, the European Police Office, which started work in 1999. Europol has an important role in collating, analysing and sharing intelligence provided by national authorities.

The Committee has closely followed developments in Europol, on which a Report was published in February 2003. An extensive Correspondence with Ministers has been conducted on this subject, much of which was published in May 2003 and available here.

The Committee examined in detail the exchange of data between Europol and third countries, including the US. The Committee also examined in detail the first agreement requiring EU airlines to transmit to US authorities passenger data (PNR) which are required under US counter-terrorism legislation. This remains a highly controversial issue raising a number of practical and civil liberties issues, especially since the judgement of the Court of Justice in the case brought by the European Parliament. For recent Correspondence with Ministers, please click here.