Mossos in the Europol: What does the law actually say?

The European police agency regulations foresee "direct contacts" with competent authorities such as the Catalan police corps but Spain has not allowed it yet

The Europol headquarters (by Europol)
The Europol headquarters (by Europol) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

August 23, 2017 01:58 PM

The Catalan police, or “Mossos d'Esquadra”, do not have direct contacts with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Europol, despite this being a long-standing demand from Barcelona's authorities. The Spanish vice president, Soraya Saénz de Santamaría, seemed to justify this exclusion on Tuesday by citing the agency's "own regulations". 

"We need to pay attention to what the regulations and management of Europol allows us to do," she argued when questioned by journalists about the issue. But a spokeswoman for Europol said in comments to ACN that "it is not for Europol to participate in this debate" as this is exclusively "a national issue, within Spain".

The Spanish vice president's words, in fact, were in direct contradiction with the actual Europol regulations, which state very clearly that choosing who should be in direct touch with Europol is a prerogative of each Member State. "The Member States may allow direct contact between their competent authorities and Europol," states Article 7, paragraph 5 of the regulations. Mossos, as the general police force in Catalonia and the one that dealt with last weeks' attacks, is a competent authority and as such could be swiftly granted access albeit "subject to conditions determined" by Spain.