An autumn highlight in the EU’s capital: the first EU Crime Week brought law enforcement, DEVCO project partners, EU agencies and services together to address organised crime

For 5 days, from 25 to 29 November, participants exchanged on coordination and synergies, but also challenges in the fight against illicit trafficking, and in particular drug trafficking, both inside and outside Europe. The launch of the EU Drug Market’s Report on 26 November underpinned discussions on the current global drug production and European consumption, as well as new trends and challenges.

Crime Week began with the launch of the Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP). Taking stock of the results of the Cocaine Route Programme and building on its achievements over the past ten years, the GIFP is designed to be a more effective format for the European Commission to assist partner countries in their efforts to tackle organised crime. It is also intended to serve as a vehicle for the EU and its Member States’ law enforcement authorities to achieve a global reach.

The GIFP will rely on and expand the partnerships between the EU and other relevant organisations with the aim of better connecting the international, regional, national and local actors and agencies involved in the fight against organised crime. It also aims to better steer and coordinate DG DEVCO B5-driven initiatives in this field, with the ultimate goal of increasing their impact.

It will do so by enhancing foresight and prediction capabilities through ENACT analysis, supporting a continuous, effective and flexible response at the operational level through AIRCOP, SEACOP, COLIBRI and EU-ACT, and support effective disruption and the prosecution of the organised crime groups and networks involved in illicit trafficking via CRIMJUST. CORMS will remain a key partner to support dialogue, cooperation and synergies among the projects and serve as an information gateway in the framework of the Global Illicit Flows Programme.

This week was also the opportunity for the EU external cooperation programmes supporting the fight against organised crime and in particular against drug trafficking to discuss their activities to contribute more broadly to the Second Expert Meeting on Drugs organised together with DG HOME. This meeting, that brought together more than 80 EU Member States representatives and external cooperation programmes experts, aimed to increase awareness and promote stronger synergies between the EU Policy Cycle for serious and organised crime 2018-2021 and the EU-funded cooperation projects and programmes working against drug trafficking.

The Dialogue on Organised Crime, co-hosted by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime and DG DEVCO at the European Commission, closed the week off with an inspiring set of presentations and brainstorming sessions on major challenges to the EU and its cooperation policies from the angle of organized crime. The organizers used the forum to close in on a few particular areas, namely infrastructure development, urbanisation, and organised crime on the EU borders.

Given participants’ enthusiasm and exchanges, EU Crime Week is likely to become a regular fixture on Brussels’ agenda in the years to come, as addressing organized crime and global illicit flows receive an ever-increasing attention from European decision makers.