The drugs trade is one of the most significant security threats faced by the EU today. Seizures of cocaine in the EU are hitting record levels, with 303 tonnes seized in 2021 alone. The activities of criminal networks have evolved in their scale, sophistication, and violent consequences.
Fighting organised crime and drug trafficking is a priority for the European Union, its Member States, and its international partners. We must address the threats we face together; this is why the Commission proposes to the European Parliament and the Council to fully endorse the priority actions and medium to long-term measures set out in the Roadmap.
Stepping up EU's targeted response
Recent achievements in the EU's fight against criminal networks show that the EU is on the right track in responding to these emerging threats. Yet, given the ever-evolving nature of criminal activities around the world, there is a constant need to adapt and complement the EU collective response. The Roadmap sets out concrete and targeted actions to close the emerging gaps, with 17 actions in 4 priority areas:
- A new European Ports Alliance to increase the resilience of ports against criminal infiltration by reinforcing the work of customs authorities, law enforcement, public and private actors in the ports across the EU. For example, through state-of-the-art scanning and equipment.
- Dismantling high-risk criminal networks through facilitating financial and digital investigations, mapping the biggest criminal networks, reinforcing cooperation between specialised prosecutors and judges, and making use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) alerts.
- Measures to prevent organised crime through exchange of best practices and guidance among Member States to prevent infiltration of these groups in the society and legal economy, prevent criminal groups to recruit youngsters and improve public safety and health, and to limit more effectively access to drug precursors.
- Working with international partners to confront the global threat, including through reinforcing information exchange, joint operations on the main drug trafficking routes, and strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation with non-EU countries.
Work on the full implementation of the EU Strategies on Organised Crime and Drugs should continue in full force by all relevant actors, the Commission commits to implementing these additional actions in the course of 2023 and 2024, in close cooperation with Member States, EU agencies and bodies.
The Commission will work closely with Member States and its partners to achieve the goals set out in this Roadmap.
The Commission invites the European Parliament and the Council to adopt the Directive on the Confiscation and Asset Recovery, the revision of the Prüm Regulation, the rules on the interconnection of bank account registries, the proposed anti-money-laundering legislative package and the Directive on combating corruption by criminal law, which are essential in stepping up EU's efforts to effectively fight the activities of organised crime groups across the EU. The Commission reiterates its commitment to work closely with the co-legislators to achieve this aim.
The Commission also commits to launch a call for proposals on organised crime under the Internal Security Fund for a total of €20 million by the end of 2023. An EU Drugs Agency is due to become operational in the summer 2024.
The Commission is continuing to implement the EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime 2021-2025 and the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025. In line with these strategies, the Commission has put forward legislative proposals to reinforce the rules to fight criminal networks, including the strengthening of the asset recovery and confiscation Directive and a package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU's anti-money laundering rules.
Moreover, law enforcement capabilities have been boosted with the reinforcement of Europol's mandate. Finally, the EU has strengthened its support for the Member States law enforcement authorities through the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Crime Threats (EMPACT), which is now a permanent instrument, with reinforced funding.
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Europe has now replaced the U.S. as the single largest cocaine market in the world and is fast becoming a world hub for drug trafficking – a disturbing claim to fame and one we have to redouble efforts to reverse. Today we are announcing a new series of measures to enhance the resilience of logistical hubs and dismantle criminal networks. This will be complemented by strong engagement with partners worldwide to crack down on the main supply routes – starting with our Latin American partners whom I will visit at the end of the month.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life - 18/10/2023
Customs are on the front line in our common EU fight against drug-trafficking - a phenomenon which causes untold violence, crime and suffering. This year, we have already put forward proposals for a robust, data-driven reform of the EU Customs Union so that, managed by a future Customs Authority, it can more easily control imports and stop risky goods, such as illegal drugs. In the meantime, we need to ramp up cooperation and information sharing between officials on the ground at entry points to the EU – a proven driver of success in stemming the tide. That’s where the European Ports Alliance can have real added value.
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy - 18/10/2023
The threat of organised crime and drug trafficking is worsening. It is not only affecting rival gang members, but also innocent people, including children, who find themselves in the crossfire. I have said that we need a network to fight a network. This new Roadmap, which will scale up our response, is a significant step in building that network.
Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs - 18/10/2023
- Publication date
- 18 October 2023 (Last updated on: 18 October 2023)
- Representation in Cyprus