DCAFProject › Study on the oversight of security and intelligence agencies in the European Union

Study on the oversight of security and intelligence agencies in the European Union

In October 2010, the European Parliament (EP) mandated DCAF and the European Union Institute (EUI) to conduct a major study on the oversight of security and intelligence agencies in European Union member states and other “major democracies.”

The 442 page study evaluates the oversight of national security and intelligence agencies by parliaments and specialised non-parliamentary bodies in EU member states, Australia, Canada and the United States. This is done with a view to identifying good practices that can inform the European Parliament’s approach to strengthening the oversight of Europol, Eurojust, Frontex and, to a lesser extent, the EU’s Situation Centre (Sitcen). The study analyses three main issues:

(1) Current functions and powers of Europol, Eurojust, Frontex and Sitcen;

(2) Existing arrangements for the oversight of these bodies by the European Parliament, the Joint Supervisory Bodies and national parliaments; and

(3) Legal and institutional frameworks for parliamentary and specialised oversight of security and intelligence agencies on the national level.

On this basis, the study concludes with twenty-two recommendations to the EP.

The study was developed on the basis of nine months of research that included a detailed questionnaire to all national parliaments, as well as interviews with more than 35 persons at the EP, European Commission, Council, Europol, Eurojust and the Joint Supervisory Body.  

DCAF-EUI presented the study to the LIBE Committee in October 2011, and its recommendations have received widespread support from a broad range of stakeholders.

Full version

Executive Summary (PDF)