European Commissioner for Home Affairs visits Antwerp, promises to fight drug trade

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson visited the port of Antwerp on Tuesday. The Swedish commissioner expressed her support for Belgium's efforts in the fight against cocaine smuggling, together with Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is the second largest port in Europe and intercepted a record 110 tonnes of cocaine in 2022. "Belgian experience can put Europe on the right track," Johansson said. "Ordinary citizens here feel that their neighbourhood is no longer safe, which is bad for social cohesion."

Verlinden reiterated the measures Belgium had already implemented in recent months. She mentioned the new scanners, the appointment of a drugs commissioner and the deployment of the federal police in the fight against drug trafficking.

"Europe must be at the forefront of the global fight against drug trafficking," said Verlinden, who will travel to Colombia next month for a working visit together with Johansson. Verlinden also stated that countries such as the Arab Emirates must fulfil their commitments to Europe in the fight against the illegal drug trade.

Johansson mentioned that she will introduce some proposals, so that Europe can exchange information on criminals even faster in the future. "In addition, Europol's renewed mandate will start soon." Finally, Verlinden and Johansson emphasised confiscation and asset seizure. "We have to keep following the money," they concluded.


#FlandersNewsService | Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson during a visit to the port of Antwerp. © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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