On 5 November 2020, Swedish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Tomas Tobé of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Organised crime poses a serious threat to public order and to the safety of the European Union. The Member States must therefore respond to these criminals, who operate across borders, and combat them through harmonised legislation and closer cooperation.
The French authorities have managed to gain access to EncroChats’ servers and can share real-time information with other European crime preventing agencies. In Sweden, cooperation between French and Swedish police has prevented murders and drug deals, and has resulted in many criminal arrests.
However, administrative bureaucracy has hampered information from being shared quickly between authorities in different Member States. A Member State requesting information from the French authorities must now apply to Eurojust, and then have its request granted by a French Court. This course of action is preventing the Member States from cooperating in an effective manner in their efforts to stop organised crime in the EU.
1. What specific steps, including legislative proposals, is the Commission going to take in order to ensure more effective cooperation and information-sharing between the Member States?”
On 20 January 2021, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “On 9 December 2020, the Commission presented a new Counter-Terrorism Agenda for the EU aiming at further strengthening cooperation and information sharing among law enforcement agencies and with Europol.
To this end, the Commission will propose to streamline the different EU instruments of operational law enforcement cooperation into a modern consolidated EU ‘police cooperation code’, and a modernisation of the existing Prüm Decisions.
The Commission will work with Member States to identify possible legal, operational and technical solutions for lawful access and promote an approach, which both maintains the effectiveness of encryption in protecting privacy and security of communications, while providing an effective response to crime and terrorism.
On the same day, the Commission proposed a revision of the Europol mandate which would also enable it the Agency to support effectively Member States’ criminal investigations with the analysis of large complex datasets.
The Commission will present an EU Agenda to tackle organised crime in 2021. The Commission will review the EU legal framework on asset recovery to enhance the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of organised crime groups.
Finally, the Commission will adopt in 2021 a legislative proposal to improve information exchange and coordination in the judicial proceedings of cross-border terrorism cases.”
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