EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment

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Quicktab EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment

What is the EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment (EU-STNA)?

The EU-STNA is a collective and EU-wide effort between Member States, the Commission, key experts and stakeholders such as Europol and EBCGA (Frontex). It forms part of CEPOL’s mandate, in that the agency is tasked to support, develop, implement and coordinate training for law enforcement officials.

The EU-STNA was developed to identify gaps in knowledge, skills and competencies and training needs. The assessment identifies training priorities and aims at coordinating available training to prevent overlaps and duplication. It identifies emerging law enforcement trends, such as increasing synergies and overlaps between different crime areas, as well as larger demands for cooperation between disciplines.

A pilot started in 2017, which resulted in the first 2018-2021 European Union Strategic Training Needs Assessment. Based on the outcomes of an external evaluation of the first, pilot EU-STNA CEPOL updated the methodology and launched the EU-STNA 2022-2025 to define strategic and EU-level training priorities for the law enforcement community for the next policy cycle.

How is the EU-STNA completed?

EU-STNA consists in step-by-step analysis of strategic level EU documents detailing crime threats that were then discussed in expert and focus groups by Member State and EU specialists with a view to extract capability gaps and training needs that should be addressed by training implemented at EU level. The list of EU-level training needs is then prioritised by Member States. The EU-STNA Report provides an overview of horizontal and thematic areas enlisting the capability challenges and related training needs of law enforcement in priority order. The Report guides training providers to build up their training portfolio and helps avoiding overlaps in training delivery on EU level.

EU-STNA CEPOL infographic

Why CEPOL implements the EU-STNA?

With the 2010-2014 Stockholm Programme, training of law enforcement was intensified with the objective to ‘foster a genuine European judicial and law enforcement culture’. For CEPOL this had impact on different fronts:

  • The programme called for improved coordination and coherence between EU Agencies;
  • The programme called for stepping up the training on Union-related issues and make this accessible for all professions involved in the implementation of the area of freedom, security, and justice. CEPOL (and EBCGA) would play a key role in this, opening the possibility to widen the scope of the Agency;
  • The programme emphasised the need to find solutions in strengthening the European Law Enforcement Training Schemes (LETS), as well as developing e-learning programmes and common training material to train professionals in the European mechanisms;
  • The programme emphasised the importance of the external dimension of the EU’s policy in the area of freedom, security and justice. In particular, it called for priorities in external relations to inform and guide the priorities of the work of relevant agencies, including CEPOL.

A Communication from the Commission in 2013 (COM(2013)172.) formally proposed the establishment of the LETS. This scheme aimed to equip law enforcement officials with the knowledge and skills needed to prevent and combat cross-border crime effectively through efficient cooperation with EU colleagues. The Commission stresses the importance of learning under the scheme to be built on existing training at national and EU level and to base this on regular assessments of training needs

The new Regulation entered into force in July 2016 and changed several key features, in line with the Internal Security Strategy and the Common Approach on EU decentralised agencies:

  • CEPOL shall target all law enforcement officials, which is no longer limited to (senior) police personnel, but now also includes staff of police, customs, other relevant services, and staff of Union bodies across all levels;
  • CEPOL shall play a coordination and implementation role to address the European dimension of serious and organised crime, terrorism, public order, and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) preparedness;
  • CEPOL is tasked to: assess EU initiatives in defined fields; build the capacity of third countries; provide multiannual Strategic Training Needs Assessments; and promote mutual recognition of training among EU Member States;
  • An extended scope of CEPOL’s remit in the area of research relevant for training and external relations;
  • Changed governance arrangements.

Against this background, CEPOL in collaboration with the European Commission developed in 2017 the EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment (EU-STNA).

The EU-STNA was developed to identify gaps in knowledge, skills and competencies and training needs. The assessment identifies training priorities and aims at coordinating available training to prevent overlaps and duplication. It identifies emerging law enforcement trends, such as increasing synergies and overlaps between different crime areas, as well as larger demands for cooperation between disciplines.

CEPOL launched the first, pilot EU-STNA in 2017 by the presentation of the CEPOL Acting Executive Director to the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) on 25 September 2017. The methodology behind the EU-STNA process had been developed with the support of the European Commission and in close cooperation with the Member States and the key stakeholders like Europol and Frontex.

The first EU-STNA Report was published in 2018 and presented to the European Commission, the Council of the EUl and the European Parliament. The EU-STNA enlists training needs and recommended EU-training directions, categorised in horizontal aspects, and 21 themes. In addition, there is an extra category for specific and cross-cutting trainings needs. The 184 training needs were prioritised by the Member States and shared with the JHA agencies, EJTN, ESDC, EUCPN and EUIPO for their opinion on prioritisation and potential training coordination. The EU-STNA shall result in a split of tasks among EU level training providers and shall inform and facilitate planning.

EU-STNA 2018-2021 findings in a nutshell

Core capability gaps in law enforcement training:

  • Cyber-investigations
  • Open source intelligence
  • Financial investigations
  • Fundamental and human rights
  • Crime prevention and forensics
  • Links between crime areas
  • Document fraud

Thematic training categories prioritised by EU Member States:

How is the EU-STNA implemented?

The EU-STNA is primarily used a strategic guideline and lookup tool. Further, the EU-STNA is used at EU level to analyse thematic areas and training priorities mapped therein, to align the planning of internal trainings delivered to Member States, and to translate the results of the EU-STNA into work programmes of a JHA agency. CEPOL relies on EU-STNA training priorities when conducting operational level training needs analyses that feed into its training portfolio. Europol and Frontex implements the EU-STNA into its yearly training needs assessment. Additionally, the EU-STNA was found to be used as a source of information and as a tool to avoid overlaps of training offers.

EU-STNA Evaluation

In 2020 CEPOL, in cooperation with an external provider, completed a process and impact evaluation of the first, pilot EU-STNA. Main conclusions of the evaluators outline that despite challenges in the process, the EU-STNA was managed well.

Evaluators recommended to establish more political backing and adequate dedicated resources.for the implementation of the EU-STNA. For example, a binding Council conclusions would bring further awareness to the purpose and process of the EU-STNA, and would support more diligent stakeholder input during the consultation phases.

CEPOL launched the new EU-STNA in 2020 to define strategic and EU-level training priorities of law enforcement officials for the 2022-2025 policy cycle.

The overall architecture of the EU-STNA methodology has been kept adding a step on the implementation of the EU-STNA outcomes with increased political support and another on a mid-term review of threats and training priorities.

EU-STNA 2022-2025 is expected to be published in December 2021.

Need further information? Send an e-mail to


EU-STNA 2021-2024 Timeline


The EU-STNA will be conducted in cooperation with a broad range of stakeholder, including DG Home, the Council of the EU, Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies, Member States, EMPACT groups and other professional networks.

National experts will participate in the identification of capability challenges and training needs during focus group discussions. Member States' competent organisation at national strategic level will be invited to rank the training needs identified in order to reflect their priorities. Member States will be asked to indicate the estimated number of law enforcement officials who would need training. Further on, Member States are requested to respect the outcomes of the EU-STNA, to the extent possible, when designing national level training for law enforcement officials.

The Justice and Home Affairs agencies provide CEPOL with the relevant documents for the desk research and will take part in focus expert group discussions to identify EU level training needs, JHA agencies and other partners will have the opportunity to express their opinion on the ranking of training needs provided by the Member States and shall align their training portfolio to the strategic priorities identified in the EU-STNA.

EMPACT groups and other professional networks contribute to focus groups discussions to identify EU-level training needs.

DG HOME is involved during the whole process, supporting CEPOL with the implementation of the EU-STNA. In particular, the Commission approves the list of documents to be assessed as part of the desk research exercise. The Commission is invited to participate in the focus groups together with the national experts, the agencies, and CEPOL. Besides, the Commission will be consulted together with the agencies in order to propose the best situated training provider for the prioritised training needs and will provide feedback on the final EU-STNA report to be drafted by CEPOL.

The Council will be invited to provide a binding endorsement to the final prioritised training needs and the EU-STNA Report.



Download here in full size, or click on the image below.

EU-STNA CEPOL infographic

CEPOL Regulation* mandates the Agency to incorporate training needs assessments and analysis in its planning. CEPOL completed the EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment (EU-STNA) in 2018, identifying strategic level training priorities for law enforcement officials across Europe for the period 2018-2021.

As a follow up to this exercise, CEPOL regularly conducts training needs analyses on operational level, on the priority topics defined by the EU-STNA. The aim of these analyses is to get a detailed understanding of the number and profile of officials to be trained as well as on the proficiency and urgency level of training to be delivered.

In 2020, CEPOL completed Operational Training Needs Analyses (OTNA) in the following strategic areas identified in the EU-STNA:

  • facilitation of illegal immigration
  • trafficking in human beings,
  • criminal finances
  • money laundering and asset recovery
  • drug trafficking.

To provide timely response to training needs emerging as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEPOL, in cooperation with the European Council and the EMPACT structure, completed a ad-hoc additional analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on investigations and training needs with regard to the current EU Policy Cycle priority areas. As respondents indicated that cases of domestic violence have substantially increased as a consequence of the pandemic an additional analysis was completed on the Impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence law enforcement operations and training needs.

CEPOL designs its multiannual training portfolio building on the outcomes of the OTNAs. Outcomes of the training needs analysis on the impact of COVID-19 feed to newly developed learning products that aim at enhancing the knowledge, skills and competencies of law enforcement officials across Europe as a response to the pandemic.

The analyses provide a comprehensive picture on operational level training priorities, therefore, they can be used by training providers in Member States and on European level when designing their training portfolio.

The training needs analyses can be downloaded here:

Should you have any inquiry concerning the process please contact the OTNA team via email.

* Regulation (EU) 2015/2219 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) and replacing and repealing Council Decision 2005/681/JHA


Office address

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
1066 Budapest
Ó utca 27

Correspondence address

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
1903 Budapest

Email address

Telephone: +36 1 803 8030/8031

Fax: +36 1 803 8032