For the first time, the European Commission gathered in its premises all the EU stakeholders active in the fight against illicit drugs and drug trafficking, as has already occurred in other areas such as counter-terrorism. The aim of the meeting was to exchange information on activities carried out in the framework of the implementation of the “drug trafficking” priority of the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime for the period 2018-2021 and in some of the relevant cooperation programmes on the fight against illicit drugs. On the 11th and 12th of September, the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs in partnership with the Directorate-General for the Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations and the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, brought together around 100 team leaders and experts from cooperation programmes on drugs, EU countries, EU Agencies and international organisations involved in the fight against illicit drugs (ONUDC, EUROPOL, EMCDDA, MAOC- N etc.). The representatives of relevant projects and programs funded by the European Union were also invited. These projects foster law enforcement cooperation between third countries and the European Union in Latin America, Central Asia, the Western Balkans, Africa and the euro-Mediterranean region.
For this first edition, the experts pointed out that drug trafficking remains one of the most serious criminal phenomena in the EU. Law enforcement activity (drug seizures, arrests, confiscation of assets) confirms a continuous increase of the traffic of drugs from different types, with a significant rise concerning cocaine and synthetic drugs.
To reflect on the changing landscape in drug trafficking and share expertise were not the only objectives of the meeting. Bringing together all the stakeholders also helped identify synergies between the various European initiatives as well as opportunities for partnerships and mutual support between the different projects and organizations. Mr. Michel Quillé, Head of the Euromed Police project, presented to his partners the activities planned by Euromed Police for the year 2019 in order to strengthen the fight against illicit drugs around the Mediterranean Sea.
During the meeting, the participants underlined that EU internal and external security are ever more intertwined. By providing structured mechanisms for sustainable cooperation between the EU and its southern neighbours, Euromed Police is fully in line with this approach. Also, by grounding this cooperation on objectives selected due to their strategic and operational relevance in both the Southern and Northern Mediterranean shores, the project ensures the themes of cooperation are appropriate to ensure the security of EU citizens and the security of citizens of the South Partner Countries.