The adoption of the rules of procedure of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol made a historic decision, said the Chairman of the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order Tsvetan Tsvetanov at a press conference on the results of the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol. The forum is the fourth event of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and its host is the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order of the National Assembly.
Parliamentarians from the EU Member States, members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission discussed Europol's multiannual programming for the period 2019-2021, Tsvetan Tsvetanov noted. Among the topics discussed were digital connectivity and the prevention of organized crime. Main focus was placed also on the Western Balkans, so I would like to thank all the participants in the forum, Tsvetan Tsvetanov said. In his words, the most important is the Euro-Atlantic orientation of the Western Balkans. Europol is open to more potential partners, said the Chairman of the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order.
The Chairman of the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, also pointed out that, while confronted by Brexit, all European politicians will seek ways to keep a good relationship with one of the largest strategic partners and information providers, Great Britain.
The chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament Claude Moraes noted that the decision of the parliamentarians is important and it will enable Europol to continue its successful work in combatting crime on the Western Balkans and across Europe. This morning we have achieved great success and we want to continue to build up on it, he said.
Europol Executive Director Rob Wainwright noted that scrutiny and accountability is needed for Europol. That is what we have achieved today - we have established a mechanism that will bring national parliaments closer to the European Parliament to exercise effective supervision and control, Europol Executive Director emphasized.
For the first time last year, Europol registered over one million data messages exchanged through our platforms, Rob Wainwright said. In his words, the organization is working to modernize its information and analytical systems, develop specialized cybercrime centers, flagged content reporting and other specialized areas, including financial crimes. Our work is impossible without the support of our law enforcement colleagues across Europe and without political support, without providing the necessary resources and the right guidelines for strategic priorities, noted the Executive Director of Europol.
The aim is to increase the exchange of information in order to better understand how threats and crime evolve across borders, and how the respective groups use technology in an increasingly resourceful way, he said.
The Commissioner for the Security Union, Sir Julian King commented that at today's meeting, members of national parliaments and the EP have once again have stressed on their support to Europol and have defined the way in which the Agency's activities will be monitored and its accountability ensured. Europol is at the center of our efforts in the fight against terrorism, cybercrime and heavy organized crime, the EU Commissioner said, and pointed out that last year Europol had made 400 investigations mostly in the field of terrorism. They were related to the work of platforms in the filed of combatting terrorist information content on the net, he said.
The EU Commissioner for digital economy and society Mariya Gabriel stressed that with the adoption of the rules of procedure of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol participants in the event clearly demonstrate that national parliaments, the European Parliament and the European Commission want to strengthen the capacity of Europol. In the EC, our intention is for EU citizens to feel just as secure offline as online, said Mariya Gabriel.