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Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the Government's policy is on the role of (a) Europol and (b) other EU institutions in the Bureau de Liaison network for EU-wide information-sharing on terrorist incidents. (170588)

Europol has a role to play in combating terrorism across the EU by providing support to the European law enforcement community through their research and analysis capability. By member states providing information to Europol on terrorist incidents, member states can assist that organisation to analyse and identify trends and possible terrorist threats within the EU. It also enables Europol to provide alerts to the law enforcement agencies throughout Europe.

The provision of terrorist incident data to Europol by the law enforcement community also allows them through their analysis of all data they receive, to identify any association or connection between a terrorist suspect and other possible suspects based elsewhere in Europe. Again, Europol must advise national law enforcement of any cross-match identifications.

The Government remain clear that only UK counter-terrorism agencies have an operational and investigative remit but the UK's overall counter-terrorism capacity is strengthened by our close collaboration with international partners including Europol.

The Bureau de Liaison network is a stable and reliable means of exchange of information. All member states, as well as the General Secretariat, Commission and Europol are linked to the liaison office network.