The European Council adopted on Wednesday conclusions setting the 2022-2025 EU priorities for the fight against serious and organised crime, according to a press release.
The EU Council stated that within the EMPACT framework, EU member states, agencies and other actors will work closely together to address key criminal threats using tools such as law enforcement training and joint operational actions to dismantle criminal networks, their structures and business models.
EMPACT is the European multidisciplinary platform against criminal threats. It is an intelligence-led and evidence-based EU initiative that aims to tackle the main crime threats that the EU is facing
EU member states have identified 10 crime priorities on the basis of the 2021 EU serious and organised crime threat assessment, presented by Europol.
The 10 crime priorities identified by the member states are:
- High-risk criminal networks – To identify and disrupt high-risk criminal networks active in the EU, with special emphasis on those using corruption, acts of violence, firearms and money laundering through parallel underground financial systems.
- Cyber-attacks – To target criminal offenders orchestrating cyber-attacks, particularly those offering specialised criminal services online.
- Trafficking in human beings – To disrupt criminal networks engaged in trafficking in human beings, with a special focus on those who exploit minors, those who use or threaten with violence against victims and their families and those who recruit and advertise victims online.
- Child sexual exploitation – To combat child abuse online and offline, including the production and dissemination of child abuse material as well as online child sexual exploitation.
- Migrant smuggling – To fight against criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling, in particular those providing facilitation services along the main migratory routes.
- Drugs trafficking – To identify and target the criminal networks involved in drug trafficking, including trafficking and distribution of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances.
- Fraud, economic and financial crimes – To target criminals orchestrating fraud, economic and financial crimes, including online fraud schemes, excise fraud, Missing Trader Intra Community Fraud (MTIC fraud), intellectual property crime, counterfeiting of goods and currencies, criminal finances and money laundering.
- Organised property crime – To disrupt criminal networks involved in organised property crime, with a particular focus on organised burglaries, theft and robberies, motor vehicle crime and illegal trade in cultural goods.
- Environmental crime – To combat criminal networks involved in all forms of environmental crime and in particular those with a capability to infiltrate legal business structures or set up own companies to facilitate their crimes.
- Firearms trafficking – To target criminals involved in the illicit trafficking, distribution and use of firearms.
The Council stated that in addition to these priorities, the production and provision of fraudulent and false documents will be addressed as a common horizontal strategic goal, since it is a key enabler for many crimes.
“EMPACT will continue to follow four-year cycles which start with the assessment of criminal threats and the adoption of the EU crime priorities. (…) At the end of the 4-year cycle, an independent evaluation is to be carried out to assess its implementation and outcome and to feed into the next cycle,” said the EU Council.