The Development of Europol’s External Relations: Towards Supranationalism?

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This article examines the extent to which, if any, the development of Europol’s external relations over time has contributed to the integration of EU policing and criminal justice. More precisely, with reference to the academic debates on ‘intergovernmentalism’ and ‘supranationalism’, it examines the extent to and the ways in which the growth in Europol’s external relations has indicated a move away from intergovernmentalism towards more supranationalism in the EU’s policing and criminal justice cooperation. It does so by systematically examining the development of Europol’s external relations over time using a continuum ranging from ‘intergovernmentalism’ to ‘supranationalism’ as ideal-types, whilst arguing for not reducing supranationalism to the ‘Community method’. The article shows that the balance between intergovernmental and supranational features in the governance of Europol’s external relations has changed over time as the latter have been gradually reinforced. Starting from a position close to the intergovernmental pole of the continuum, Europol has moved significantly towards the supranational pole in its external relations, especially after the Europol Regulation began to apply in 2017.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
JournalMaastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
Issue number2
Early online date24 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Europol
  • supranationalism
  • external relations
  • EU
  • criminal justice
  • police cooperation


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