European Parliament adopts new rules on Europol and migration of students, researchers and interns 12.5.16

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Europol: Police cooperation: MEPs approve new powers for Europol to fight terrorism (EP press release, pdf): " The EU police agency Europol will soon be able to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other criminal offences and respond faster to threats, thanks to new governance rules approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new powers come with strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight tools.


The draft rules, agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators in November last year, will strengthen Europol's mandate to ensure that it is fully equipped to counter the rise in cross-border crimes and terrorist threats, in particular by making it easier for it to set up specialised units to respond immediately to emerging threats. The rules will also include clear rules for existing units or centres such as European Counter Terrorism Centre, which started work on 1 January this year.

"The new rules for Europol are a powerful legislative tool that will help to enhance security for European citizens", said Parliament's lead MEP Agustín Díaz de Mera (EPP, ES), in the debate ahead of the vote."

The Green group within the Parliament "would have preferred stronger provisions" with regard to data protection, but notes that those contained in the text are "satisfactory". See: New EUROPOL rules will strengthen police cooperation (Greens/EFA, link).

The ALDE group also welcomed the new text (link) despite regretting that its last-minute proposals for investigative powers were not approved.

The GUE/NGL group of leftist MEPs had called for the Parliament to reject the Europol proposal. See: Parliament should reject ‘black box’ of new powers for Europol (GUE/NGL, link)

Students/researchers/interns: New rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU (EP press release, pdf): "Harmonised EU entry and residence rules to make it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs.

The new rules merge two existing directives (one on students and one on researchers) to ensure that:

  • students and researchers may stay at least nine months after finishing their studies or research in order to look for a job or to set up a business, which should also ensure that Europe benefits from their skills,
  • students and researchers may move more easily within the EU during their stay. In future, they will not need to file a new visa application, but only to notify the member state to which they are moving, for example to do a one-semester exchange. Researchers will also be able to move for longer periods than those currently allowed,
  • researchers have the right to bring their family members with them and these family members are entitled to work during their stay in Europe, and
  • students have the right to work at least 15 hours a week."

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