The European Police Office (Europol) was established through a decision of the Council of the European Union, with the aim to support law enforcement authorities throughout the EU in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism.
In line with its mandate, Europol serves as a support centre for law enforcement operations, hub for information on criminal activities, and centre for law enforcement expertise. Its operational activities focus on areas such as: ilicit drugs, trafficking in human beings, facilitated illegal immigration, cybercrime, intellectual property crime, cigarette smuggling, euro counterfeiting, VAT fraud, money laundering and asset tracing, mobile organised-crime groups, and terrorism. The entity also works with many non-EU partner states and international organisations in the fight against international crime.
Fighting cybercrime is one of Europol's priority areas. Activities undertaken in this area, mainly through the European Cybercrime Centre, are aimed to combat cybecrimes that are committed by organised crime groups and that generate large profits from activities such as online and payment card fraud, cybercrimes that cause serious harm to their victims such as child sexual abuse exploitation, and cyber-attacks which affect critical infrastructures and information systems in the EU.