Fighting drug crime together
05 June 2023
A coalition of European countries to fight organised crime is focusing on seaports as a gateway for narcotics – statement adopted in Antwerp today
“Our main goal is fighting drug crime,” Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser said, speaking in Antwerp on the margins of a meeting of a European coalition to fight organised crime.
Federal Minister Faeser and her counterparts from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands as well as representatives of the EU and Europol were meeting in Antwerp to focus on one topic in particular: the fight against drug crime.
“In more than two-thirds of all cases, organised crime is cross-border crime. That makes international cooperation among our security authorities all the more important,” Federal Minister Faeser said.
Source: Henning Schacht
Large quantities of narcotics enter Europe through seaports
At the port of Antwerp alone, 110 tonnes of cocaine were seized last year. That is why the coalition has declared its goal of making seaports more secure and resilient so that fewer narcotics can enter the EU this way, Federal Minister Faeser said. The joint action plan adopted at today’s meeting calls above all for close cooperation within and beyond the EU, for example with drug-producing countries in South America, to keep large quantities of drugs from reaching Europe in the first place.
Using technology and innovation to fight crime
The European coalition also agreed to make greater use of technology and innovation to fight crime. The technical capabilities and legal powers of the security authorities must keep pace with rapid developments in the digital sphere, because criminals intensively use the possibilities offered by encrypted telecommunications to plan and commit serious crimes, Federal Minister Faeser said following the meeting.
In Germany, investigations of the EncroChat encrypted messaging service revealed the extent to which criminals used this technology. In 2020, French law enforcement authorities provided the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) with data from a French-Dutch surveillance operation.
For Germany alone, the data included
From the time the investigators started analysing the data, in Germany alone
“We are conducting a record number of investigations. Our security authorities have mounted the biggest crackdown ever seen on organised crime in Germany,” Federal Minister Faeser said.
Strategy for fighting organised crime
To create the necessary national framework in Germany, in November 2022 Federal Minister Faeser presented a strategy for fighting organised crime with the following priorities: expanding the BKA’s investigative and analytical capabilities, investigating criminal financing structures and recovering criminal assets, and further increasing national and international cooperation.
At national level, close cooperation between the police and the responsible public prosecutor’s offices is crucial. Last week, the federal minister was in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia to visit the state’s central office for the prosecution of organised crime (ZeOS). There she announced that she would seek support within the Federal Government to see that every federal state set up an office like ZeOS which is specialised in the prosecution of organised crime to help the police and judicial authorities work together to break up criminal organisations. “We must pool the necessary expertise so that we can detect even the most carefully hidden business structures,” Federal Minister Faeser said.