The European Commission has adopted a comprehensive EU Roadmap to intensify efforts to combat drug trafficking and criminal networks in European ports.
Recognizing the drugs trade as a major security threat, the roadmap builds upon existing initiatives to combat the issue.
Criminal networks involved in drug trafficking have become larger and more sophisticated. In 2021, a record-breaking 303 tonnes of cocaine were seized in the European Union, highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue.
To tackle these threats collectively, the Commission proposes priority actions and long-term measures outlined in the Roadmap for endorsement by the European Parliament and the Council.
Recent achievements demonstrate the EU’s effective response in countering criminal networks. However, given the evolving nature of criminal activities globally, it is crucial to adapt and strengthen the EU’s collective response.
The Roadmap focuses on establishing a new European Ports Alliance to enhance port security, dismantling high-risk criminal networks through financial and digital investigations, preventing organized crime through best practice exchange and improving public safety, and strengthening cooperation with international partners through information exchange and joint operations.
To ensure effective implementation, the Commission commits to working closely with Member States, EU agencies, and bodies, and urges the European Parliament and the Council to adopt essential directives and legislative packages related to confiscation and asset recovery, anti-money laundering, and combating corruption by criminal law.
The Commission will launch a call for proposals on organized crime under the Internal Security Fund and allocate €20 million by the end of 2023. Furthermore, the establishment of an EU Drugs Agency is planned for summer 2024.
The EU’s commitment to combating organized crime aligns with the ongoing implementation of the EU Strategy to tackle Organized Crime 2021-2025 and the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025. Legislative proposals have been introduced to strengthen rules against criminal networks, including the reinforcement of the asset recovery and confiscation Directive and the enhancement of anti-money laundering regulations.