The appointment of the new director of Europol, the European Police Office, has put France and Germany at loggerheads, with both backing their own candidate to get the post.
The appointment of the new director of Europol, the European Police Office, has put France and Germany at loggerheads, with both backing their own candidate to get the post. This question will surface again when EU justice and interior ministers meet on Tuesday in Luxembourg. Lack of agreement between these two countries could see the issue being postponed for a summit of EU leaders next week.
Time is slipping away as the term of the present director, German Jürgen Storbeck, terminates at the end of this month. But the need for EU member states to agree unanimously on the next person to head the Office has blocked the issue for months. The Frenchman Jacques Franquet -- director of the international and technical police cooperation service (SCITP) is seen as the front runner, but Germany is backing Storbeck, who wants his mandate to be renewed.
Although senior Italian officer Emanuele Marotta is also a candidate, EU officials say that the race is now between the French and the German candidates. A possible compromise has already been floated by German Interior Minister Otto Schily. According to one EU diplomat, Schily said he would consider accepting Franquet if the post of Director General for Justice and Home Affairs in the Council was offered to a German.
"It is clear there is still not a meeting of minds," the Irish EU Presidency said on Monday. "We are anxious to get an outcome and a decision on the filling of this post. It is certainly about time that a decision is taken".
Europol was set up to improve police cooperation between the member states in combating terrorism, illicit traffic in drugs and other serious forms of international crime. (EUobserver.com)