AAs the EU's police agency Europol presented a new analysis of the EU's most dangerous criminal networks on Friday, one phrase kept repeating: “Only a network can beat a network.” Because criminals take advantage of every advantage. European law enforcement bodies without borders are mainly organized nationally. EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders spoke of a “worrying reality”. The findings of the investigation raise the question of whether the police and judicial authorities are strong enough and well-equipped to fight criminal networks. It was elegantly worded. Because if that were the case, Europol would not be currently analyzing 821 groups with a total of over 25,000 criminals.

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent of the European Union, NATO and Benelux countries in Brussels.

They are not specifically mentioned in the public version, except for a few examples. Names can only be named by national prosecutors, said Europol director Catherine De Bolle as a justification. He also pointed to the main shortcoming of his authority: he is only allowed to analyze, not to examine himself. At least all national authorities can now access internal data sets and thus gain a better insight into the organization of the groups under investigation. For the public, however, there is only aggregated data that allows for an overview of business areas, modes of operation and organizational forms.