The Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group is a unique form of scrutiny on the functioning of Europol by the European Parliament, together with national Parliaments.
In congruence with Article 88 TFEU, as introduced by the Lisbon treaty, the adopted on 11 May 2016 Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enabled a joint parliamentary scrutiny by the European Parliament and the national parliaments on the activities of the Agency.
The tasks and responsibilities of the JPSG are set out in Article 51 of the Europol Regulation. Pursuant to Article 51 paragraph 1 of the Europol Regulation and in accordance with Article 9 of Protocol 1 to the TEU, TFEU and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, the Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments adopted conclusions on 24 April 2017 on the establishment of a Europol Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG).
According to the decisions of the Conference of Speakers, the JPSG is to meet twice a year. In the first half of the year, the JPSG meeting is hosted by the Parliament of the country holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, while in the second half of the year the JPSG will hold a meeting in the European Parliament.
The mandate of the JPSG includes: political monitoring of Europol’s activities in fulfilling its mission (including as regards the impact of those activities on the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons); oversight on the budgetary aspects of Europol’s activities, the structural organization of Europol, and the potential establishment of new units and specialized centers; debate on general matters relating to the activities of Europol (protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, in particular the protection of personal data). At its discretion, the Group may draw up summary conclusions on the political monitoring of Europol’s activities and submit those conclusions to the European Parliament and national parliaments.
In line with the Speakers’ Conference conclusions, the constituent meeting of the JPSG took place on 9 and 10 October 2017 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The meeting included hearings of the Chairperson of the Europol Management Board, the Europol Executive Director, and the European Data Protection Supervisor, as well as an exchange of views on the EU Policy Cycle and Europol’s Multiannual Programming document.
The second meeting of the JPSG will take place 18-19 March 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It will continue the work on the adoption of the Rules of Procedure, as well as fulfill the scrutiny and oversight functions of the format on the activities of Europol.