Fight Against Organised Crime and Terrorism

Combating organised crime

Organised crime poses an exceptionally high security risk threatening the stability of the global economic system and, in some states, the political system. Organised crime is characterised by the systematic perpetration of coordinated serious crime by criminal groups or organisations.

International organisations such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union initiate numerous measures to combat organised crime. At the same time, they coordinate the activities of national initiatives in individual countries. The negative impacts – in particular money laundering, corruption, trafficking in human beings, the smuggling of weapons, or drug trafficking – are escalating as globalization progresses and increasing use is made of modern technologies.

Within the EU Council a Multidisciplinary Working Group on Organised Crime (MDG) has been in operation, which is a forum for the preparation of EU policy in combating organised crime and in other similar areas.

Combating terrorism

Terrorism remains one of the fundamental security challenges faced by the world today. The international security situation has remained taut since the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001. A new dimension to the threat is the possibility that chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials will be exploited by terrorists; another issue is the opportunities for terrorism provided by modern information and communication technologies.

Besides EU Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament, the issue of terrorism is addressed by the EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator, who harmonises EU activities in this field.

The basic EU document on combating terrorism is the EU counter terrorism strategy, an integral part of which is the EU Action Plan on Combating Terrorism. The terrorist attacks in London in 2005 provided the impetus for the formation of the strategy.

The European Union pays considerable attention to combating the radicalization of immigrant communities and preventing the recruitment of their members to terrorist structures. In this respect, the EU has drawn up a strategy to combat the radicalization and recruitment that sums up possible measures of various kinds.

Another key conceptual document in the field of the struggle against terrorism is the Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives, which envisages the adoption of a number of important preventive measures.

Police and customs cooperation

Police cooperation within the EU was first institutionalized by the EU Treaty (in force since 1993), which incorporated provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (the third pillar). Prior to 1993, police cooperation was regulated only in the context of Schengen cooperation and the activities of the TREVI Group (terrorism, radicalism, extremism, violence, internationalism).

Police cooperation is geared primarily towards the tasks of national police forces that are related to Schengen cooperation, the activities of joint police and customs cooperation border centres, and the national units of the European Police Office (Europol).

Europol, established under an international convention of 1995, reinforces the fight against organised crime and terrorism in cases where two or more states are affected by such criminal activity. Europol simplifies the exchange of information, draws up strategic reports and performs operational analyses. It also provides expert and technical assistance in investigations conducted by Member States. In 2008, a change to the legal basis of Europol was approved, according to which this organisation is to be an EU agency and thus a more effective instrument of police cooperation between Member States. Another important instrument of police cooperation is the CEPOL (European Police College) network.

Police cooperation is closely connected to customs cooperation. The purpose of the latter is to make cooperation between customs administrations and the police more efficient by creating joint centres to contribute to the prevention and suppression of crime (especially cross-border crime). Customs cooperation should be strengthened by the improvement of legal instruments and the setting of mechanisms for joint operations and the exchange of experience. For this reason, a manual on joint customs inspections was approved in 1997.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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