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Volume 589: debated on Wednesday 6 May 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Under which instrument the principal officers of Europol are appointed; to whom they are personally or corporately accountable for the conduct and financial operations of that body; and what obligation is laid upon them to make confidential or public reports on discharge of their duties, and the operations of Europol. [HL1666]

Article 29 of the Europol Convention provides for the director and deputy directors of Europol to be appointed by the European Council, acting unanimously. The director will be Europol's legal representative and accountable to the management board in respect of his duties. Article 29 provides that the director will be responsible for performance of the tasks assigned to Europol; day to day administration; personnel management; proper preparation and implementation of the management board's decisions; preparing the draft budget, draft establishment plan and draft five-year financing plan; and "all other tasks assigned to him in the Convention or by the Management Board".Article 28 of the Convention provides

inter alia for general reports to be submitted to the European Council on Europol's activities during the previous year and on the organisation's future activities, taking into account member states' operational requirements and budgetary and staffing implications for Europol. The director and deputy directors, who are to be appointed for five years (director), four years (immediate deputy) and three years (second deputy) after entry into force of the Convention, may be dismissed by a decision of the Council, after obtaining the opinion of the management board.

asked Her Majesty's Government:From which legal processes members of the organs of Europol or its members of staff are given immunity in the United Kingdom by any convention or protocol, agreed or proposed; and whether such immunities, in whole or part, extend to such persons subsequent to their membership of its organs or to staff; and for what purposes. [HL1668]

The immunity from suit and legal process granted to Europol by the European Communities (Immunities and Privileges of the European Police Office) Order 1997 No. 2973 means that members of the organs of Europol or its members of staff will be immune from the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom courts in respect of acts committed in the exercise of their official functions.This immunity does not extend to civil liability in case of damage arising from road traffic accidents caused by them. The Director of Europol would be required to waive immunity in cases where the immunity would impede the course of justice and could be waived without prejudice to the interests of Europol.Member states will be liable, in accordance with national law, for any damage caused to an individual as a result of legal or factual errors in data stored and processed in Europol. This means that individual citizens would have an avenue of redress through the courts of the member state in which the damage occurred.The immunity granted applies only to acts committed in exercise of the official functions of Europol. If any complaint was to arise with regard to acts by Europol officers which were outside their official functions, either in fact or in time, they would be subject to the legal process in the same way as any other individual.