EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment

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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).


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