On the 13th of April, members of the JASON Institute were invited to visit the Europol headquarters in the Hague. In addition to being graciously hosted by Jan Op Gen Oorth, Europol’s head of corporate communications, who together with Thomas Kirchberger from corporate communications, and Peter David, a specialist in external and EU institutional affairs for Europol, prepared a presentation on Europol’s mission, we were also given a tour of the building. During our host’s lecture, we learned about Europol’s impressive liaison network, which fosters cooperation built on trust between a multitude of policing agencies that are both in the EU and nations outside of the EU. Moreover, we discovered Europol’s founding, which originated from the then-German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, who called for a European counterpart to the FBI in the early 90s. The FBI comparison is, however, not the case today and never was, as Europol has never conducted its own investigations. Instead, Europol focuses on hosting the aforementioned impressive liaison network and taking the role of knowledge brokering in tackling transnational crime issues, such as trafficking, counter-terrorism, financial crime and cybercrime.

            In addition to learning about Europol’s mandate, we learned about points of entry into institutions such as Europol for young professionals in the security and international relations sectors. What we learned there is the number of organizations that exist within the EU and offer internships, in addition to Europol, institutions working exclusively on customs matters and food safety, to name a few. Furthermore, during the discussion, our hosts emphasized the importance of several factors for our future careers that are not necessarily taught in universities, such as having ‘good people skills’, being trustworthy, and the value of good networking skills.

Cristiana Raileanu, David Iakobidze and Gunnar Gislason of the Activities Committee of the JASON Institute planned the visit. We would like to thank our hosts at Europol very much for the visit, and last but not least, we would like to share with you some kind and inspiring words from our host at Europol, Jan Op Gen Oorth:

“Thank you for your interest into Europol. As I said, we normally don’t host meetings like this, but your initiative and enthusiasm was very convincing. Initiative is paramount at a young age. When we grow up we might believe, that the world is as it is and we need to find our place but everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things. So taking initiative based on curiosity and enthusiasm is fundamental for a successful career.” – Jan Op Gen Oorth

What we learned during our visit to Europol and on their work on tackling transnational crime has prompted us to zoom in on this topic. Therefore, we would like to announce that the JASON Institute is organizing a panel discussion on organized crime in the Netherlands on the 25th of May at the Wijnhaven building of Leiden University, the Hague. In that event we will have experts from the Dutch police and the prosecution service inform and discuss the trends and challenges in tackling organized crime in the Netherlands. Follow our social media platforms as more information will come soon!

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