The Hague - The Netherlands. Co-operation between the European Police Office (Europol) and the United States (US) law enforcement authorities in the fight against terrorism and others forms of serious crime was reinforced significantly today with the signing of a co-operation agreement between the two parties.
The agreement was signed in Brussels by the US Ambassador to the European Union, Rockwell Schnabel and the Director of Europol, J�rgen Storbeck, in the presence of the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and all the Justice and Interior Ministers of the Member States.
The purpose of the agreement is to enhance the strategic and technical co-operation between Europol and the US law enforcement authorities in preventing, detecting, suppressing and investigating serious forms of international terrorism and organised crime. The agreement also provides for the exchange of liaison officers. Additional provisions relating to the exchange of personal data will be considered at a later date.
"The terrorist attacks of the 11 September in USA accelerated the bilateral negotiations for this co-operation agreement" Mr Storbeck said. "Terrorism is today the plague of our global society, a constant threat to the principles and values of our democracy. Therefore we need to strengthen our international law enforcement co-operation in order to combat it efficiently" he added.
The Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in its meeting on 20 September urged the agreement to be ready by the end of 2001. Earlier this year, Europol also signed co-operation agreements with Interpol, Iceland, Norway, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Estonia.