FECL 10 (November 1992):

FRENCH AND GERMAN MINISTERS INAUGURATE EUROPOL OFFICE IN STRASBOURG IN THE ABSENCE OF THEIR EUROPEAN PARTNERS

In what appeared to be a purely Franco-German inauguration ceremony on 4 September the French Ministers of European Affairs and Home Affairs, Elisabeth Guigou and Paul Quilès, accompanied by their German colleagues, Mr. Schmidtbauer and Mr. Seiters announced the creation of a staff of European police officers in charge of proposing the modalities of the setting up of Europol. The staff's office is located in the Strasbourg suburb of Neuhof, on the same site as the Schengen Information System (SIS).

The first Europol office will be run by 15 high ranking police officials under the leadership of Mr. Storbeck, a representative of the German BKA (German Department of criminal investigation). According to sources within the European Parliament certain EC-member States have two representatives on the staff, while others, as for instance Belgium, are not yet represented.

The choice of Strasbourg as the location for the staff appears to be an important preliminary decision with respect to Europol's definitive location, an issue which had led to rivalry between a number of European cities (see FECL No.3, p.3). It is not clear if the Franco-German inauguration ceremony for what is supposed to be a European police body is a common attempt of the two leading EC-powers to influence a future decision on the site of Europol or if there is already agreement among the ministers within the TREVI-group on the choice of Strasbourg.

As a result of TREVI's traditional policy of secrecy and "ad-hoc informality", nobody knows. And we will also have to wait for an explanation of the quite surprising fact that Europol is placed in the same building as the Schengen Information System, although, in theory, it is not a Schengen body.

The French Home Affairs Minister Quilès described the Europol-staff in Neuhof as "the embryo of a European police".

N.B.

 

Sources: Le Monde, 6/7.9.92; our sources.