Plans for Europol-New Zealand Operational Agreement
Together with its 20th progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union, the European Commission addressed a recommendation to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an EU-New Zealand agreement. The initiative aims to allow Europol and New Zealand law enforcement authorities to exchange personal data to fight serious crime and terrorism.
The EU and New Zealand agreed on reinforcing law enforcement cooperation in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks. On the basis of a working agreement signed in April 2019 (see eucrim 2/2019, p. 89), Europol and New Zealand can exchange strategic information, but not personal data.
New Zealand has been taken up on the list of priority countries, which the Commission intends to conclude operational security agreements with in order to combat terrorism, migration, and other forms of serious crime. To date, these countries include those in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. The Commission stressed that the EU and New Zealand are like-minded partners sharing similar views and approaches on many global issues. From Europol’s viewpoint, there are above all common operational interests in the following areas: terrorism, cybercrime (including child sexual exploitation), outlaw motorcycle criminal gangs, and drug trafficking. Europol and New Zealand authorities have successfully worked together in these areas in the past.