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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article29 September 2021

European Union to join forces with the Western Balkans, Eastern and Southern neighbours to combat cross-border crime

Cross-border crime can only be eradicated with cross-border cooperation. This was the key message from Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, to over 150 public prosecutors and other law enforcement authorities...

Laura Kovesi

Cross-border crime can only be eradicated with cross-border cooperation. This was the key message from Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, to over 150 public prosecutors and other law enforcement authorities at the launch of the 21st edition of the TAIEX International Forum for Prosecutors, on 28–29 September 2021.

Criminals are increasingly operating across the state borders and ruthlessly seek opportunities to exploit the unprecedented pandemic situation. This is why judicial cooperation against cybercrime, terrorism and environmental crime was the focus of this year’s Forum. These topics are reinforcing the EU Security Union Strategy, calling for closer police and judicial cooperation, including with EU’s closest neighbourhood.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that our societies, be it physically or digitally, are increasingly interconnected. Fighting cross-border crime has to be ensured both online and offline. The EU is ready to support comprehensive and coordinated response at national and international level, including by strengthening the security partnerships with our closest neighbours.”

Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement

The two-day virtual conference was organised jointly with the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, EUROJUST, and the European Public Prosecutors’ Office (EPPO). It brought together senior prosecutors and judiciary representatives from the EU Member States, Western Balkans, and Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood to exchange lessons from real world cases of investigating and prosecuting cross-border crime. The speakers tackled emerging topics for international cooperation ranging from cryptocurrencies and the use of battlefield evidence in judicial proceedings to tackling wildlife crime.

“The EPPO is a single prosecution office acting in 22 Member States. Our European Delegated Prosecutors are embedded in the respective national systems with full prosecutorial powers. We have the ability to investigate cross-border, so far in 22 Member States of the EU, without cumbersome mutual legal assistance formalities. We will be able to help Member States as no one before in recovering damages. The EPPO has the potential to change the paradigm of cross border investigations involving organised crime.”

Laura Kövesi, European Chief Prosecutor

Over the past year alone, the European Union’s Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument has enabled over 30 activities mobilising over 70 EU experts from 19 countries to support our partners in strengthening their institutional capacities to combat organised and serious crime. Further activities will be designed jointly with partner countries to take forward the outcomes of the Forum.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021, TAIEX is the European Union’s tool mobilising European public sector expertise to support peer learning between EU and partner country administrations.

Details

Publication date
29 September 2021