Israel Police concluded an agreement with the European Union on Wednesday to share intelligence with the EU's Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, more commonly known as Europol.
As per the new deal, Israeli law enforcement will be able to share and receive intel with their European counterparts in real-time. The deal focuses on information in relation to serious crime and terrorism.
Another milestone in Israel-EU cooperation
Haim Regev, the Israeli ambassador to the European Union who was present to sign the dotted line, wrote on Twitter that he was "happy to conclude" the negotiations with Europol, noting the deal marks "another milestone in strengthening cooperation between Israel and the EU."
Happy to conclude the negotiations between #Israel, #EU @Europol & @IL_police on the exchange of Personal #Data. Marking another milestone in strengthening the #cooperation between & the #EU in combatting #crime & #terrorism, while safeguarding the right to privacy. pic.twitter.com/ybrwBBCTIT— Ambassador Haim Regev (@HaimRegev) September 14, 2022
Israel's new intelligence capabilities are set to significantly strengthen police's ability to maintain public safety, a government statement read.
It was crucial for Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev to secure the agreement with his tenure as minister likely coming to an end soon, he said following the news of the deal.
"As crime and terrorism reach an unprecedented level worldwide, it was important to finalize the drawn-out negotiations to strengthen the cooperation between the agencies.
"The enemy in front of us has become elusive, sophisticated and increasingly bankrolled," the public security minister claimed. "This agreement will strengthen Israel Police and the Public Security Ministry's capabilities."
Israeli-European cooperation: One of Lapid's main targets
The deal joins a host of agreements in a number of areas of cooperation between Israel and Europe.
In 2018, Israel Police signed a deal with Europol to expand cooperation to combat cross-border criminal activity. In a statement, Europol said that the new level of cooperation between the agency and Israel "will be important for tackling priority crime areas affecting both the EU and Israel, such as fraud, cybercrime and terrorism."
Israel has also cooperated with the EU on cultural programs and initiatives. In June, it entered the EU's Creative Europe program, which promotes cultural cooperation between artists in participating nations, despite it including a 'territorial clause' which only recognizes sovereign Israeli territories, meaning the West Bank was excluded.
It was also reported by The Jerusalem Post in May that Israel and the EU were also in negotiations to export Israeli gas to Europe through Egypt, filling the gap left by the sanctions on Russia due to its war on Ukraine. Earlier this week, the prime minister said that in 2023, Israel plans to deliver some 10% of the gas Europe had received from Russia last year.
The latest agreement between Israel and the EU is subject to approval from both sides, as is standard procedure, the statement noted.