European Parliament: civil liberties committee approves Europol-Georgia cooperation agreement
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The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has given its consent to an agreement that would allow the exchange of information, including personal data, between EU policing agency Europol and Georgia. The Parliament has previously called on the Council not to authorise negotiations with Georgia and a number of other countries, but in any case parliamentary consent is not required for the approval of the agreement, an issue raised in the committee's report.
See: REPORT on the draft Council implementing decision approving the conclusion by the European Police Office (Europol) of the Agreement on Operational and Strategic Cooperation between Georgia and Europol (pdf)
In 2014, when negotiating a Decision setting out with which states Europol should sign agreements, the Council removed text that would have given the European Parliament some role in the process: "Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament." See: a draft of the Council Implementing Decision (pdf) and the final version (link).
The report by the civil liberties committee, which was passed by 31 votes to three against and with six abstentions, notes:
"While it is disappointing that the European Parliament in this procedure cannot fully play its role of democratic scrutiny, one should note that in the Europol Regulation it is stipulated in Article 25(4) that the Commission has to assess the provisions, in particular those concerning data protection, contained in all the operational cooperation agreements that have been concluded before 1 May 2017 and that the Commission will have to inform Parliament about the outcome of that assessment and, if needed, start the procedure to renegotiate these agreements. Furthermore, one should take into consideration that Europols Joint Supervisory Body, which consists of the national data protection authorities specialized in law enforcement, gave a positive opinion to the conclusions of this cooperation agreement, taking into account the data protection level in Georgia."
Previous Statewatch coverage
- European Parliament calls on Council to prevent Europol negotiating new international agreements (November 2013)
- The spider's web: Europol goes global in the hunt for intelligence and analysis (March 2013)
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