Six European countries call for global approach to drug crime
An international summit on the fight against organised crime, particularly drug crime, took place on Monday at the Port House in Antwerp. The meeting of ministers and top officials from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain resulted in a joint declaration calling for more European and global cooperation in several areas.
There is a consensus that Europe needs to act more as one, especially in relation to non-European countries involved in the issue. The six European countries already cooperate in the fight against organised crime, but they are calling on the European institutions to do much more.
"We want to reach very concrete agreements with our European colleagues," said Interior minister Annelies Verlinden before the talks. The agreements include creating a new platform to exchange information on best practices, corruption and drug seizures in ports.
Monday's agreement also builds on the agreement signed this year by the Netherlands, Belgium and five major international shipping companies to combat organised crime in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. This includes using smart containers, screening employees, mutual exchange of information and working towards further international security standards in the global fight against criminal practices and drug smuggling.
The action points in the declaration are to be implemented over the next three years. In addition, the participants see opportunities to expand cooperation, including a coordinated approach to port security and "tailor-made" extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements between Europe and countries where drugs originate or where drug criminals seek shelter.
© AFP PHOTO VALERIA MONGELLI / © BELGA VIDEO TIJS VANDERSTAPPEN