21 October 2021
A large majority of MEPs have voted to approve a mandate for negotiations with the Council of the EU on expanding the powers of Europol, the EU policing agency, despite serious fundamental rights concerns with the proposals.
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The vote (link to pdf) took place this morning with 538 MEPs voting in favour, 151 against, and 7 abstentions.
It concerned two reports that set out the Parliament's basis for negotiations with the Council on:
Civil society organisations, including Statewatch, have repeatedly raised a number of fundamental rights concerns with the proposals, which will significantly enhance the agency's powers.
In an open letter coordinated by European Digital Rights (pdf), sent to MEPs before the vote, 26 organisations called for:
The letter also noted that:
"...the draft report fails to recognise that the proposed mandate is in complete contradiction with the core elements of the European Parliament’s own initiative report on "Artificial Intelligence (AI) in criminal law" adopted two weeks ago, which rejected certain uses of AI-based technologies in criminal procedures and investigations."
The Parliament and Council will now enter into secret "trilogue" negotiations.
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