"The spider's web: Europol goes global in the hunt for intelligence and analysis:
The "angular lines" used in Europol's logo, explains the agency, are "derived from a spider's web which represents exchange of information, networking and the cooperative nature of our work."
The logo is made up of a number of pieces that "fit together like a jigsaw and symbolise our core business - analysis. The upward direction of the points in the symbol signifies speed, progress, upward movement and precision." 
Europol is hoping to widen its web, and has sought permission to negotiate four new cooperation agreements so that it can formalise the exchange of information, intelligence and analysis with Brazil, Georgia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ensuring "internal security" in Europe - combating organised crime, human trafficking, drug smuggling, financial fraud and property crime amongst other things - makes the need for these agreements operationally urgent, Europol argues. Documents released by the agency also show that its own strategic interests and a desire to reinforce its status as a "major player" are also behind these proposals.
While Europol is obliged to ensure adequate levels of data protection in the countries with which it makes agreements, questions have been raised by MEPs, human rights organisations and activists over the nature of European cooperation with countries where political institutions and police forces have dubious human rights records, make use of questionable and sometimes illegal practices and techniques, and have track records of corruption and political repression.
Over the next three weeks a series of articles on Statewatch News Online will examine Europol's proposed new agreements. We will start with an overview of the context in which the agency is seeking these new agreements, before moving on to examine two of the four new proposed "external partners" - Brazil and Mexico. Next week the proposed agreement with Georgia is examined, and following that, the UAE..."
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