Belgium and Germany strengthen cooperation between police forces

Belgium and Germany signed an agreement on police and customs cooperation on Monday, Interior minister Annelies Verlinden said in a press release. It will allow the authorities to exchange more information and carry out more cross-border operations.

The two countries had been negotiating since 2015 to strengthen their existing treaty on police and customs cooperation. The new treaty, signed on behalf of Belgium by Verlinden and Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem, raises cooperation with Germany to the same level as Belgium has with the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The treaty allows for more information to be exchanged, for example on number plates. When a person's life or physical integrity is at risk, or to prevent serious crime, the countries can check each other's Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems to quickly locate a vehicle carrying victims or suspects.

Cross-border pursuits

The agreement also extends the possibilities for cross-border pursuits. There is no longer a requirement for an offender to be caught in the act of committing a crime, and permission to continue pursuit across the border is no longer linked to the penalty for the offence.

Procedures for surveillance and infiltration will also be simplified. The two countries will be able to carry out escorts on each other's territory, for example of cash and nuclear waste, or for extradition purposes. Agreements have also been reached to allow members of special forces to be deployed on each other's territory in emergency situations.

"We will be even better equipped to fight cross-border crime and protect the security of our citizens"

Verlinden said the treaty was "a textbook example of how we can and should work together as neighbouring countries and as European member states in the fight against organised crime and other insecurity phenomena".

"We will be even better equipped to fight cross-border crime and protect the security of our citizens," her German counterpart, Nancy Faeser, said.



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