December 14, 2016 / 1:00 PM / 2 years ago

EU, Denmark find deal on Europol after Danes voted to quit

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (L) walks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (C) and European Council President Donald Tusk (R) prior to a meeting regarding Europol in Brussels, Belgium December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Virginia Mayo/Pool

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and Denmark have found a way to continue police cooperation vital to counterterrorism and crime fighting after Danes voted to leave Europol, two EU sources said.

Foreshadowing Britain’s vote to leave the 28-nation bloc in June, the Nordic country last December rejected a government proposal for new laws needed to keep the country inside the European police agency.

Since then, the government has sought a compromise to maintain police cooperation with the EU.

The deal is expected to be confirmed on Thursday when Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and EU leaders meet, on the sidelines of a regular EU summit, officials said.

Rasmussen has a mandate from all parties in the Danish parliament to strike a deal, a source said.

As full members of Europol, Denmark could automatically access its database. The draft deal will allow it to request data from an Europol agent as long as it remains a member of the border-free Schengen area.

The database is crucial to acquire information from other EU police forces.

As part of the accord, Denmark committed to remain a member of the Schengen area, the officials said.

The Danish government and Europol declined to comment on the negotiations.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio in Strasbourg; Additional reporting by Annabella Pultz Nielsen in Copenhagen; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Alison Williams

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