The EU Policy Cycle: a European mechanism to address organised crime together

In 2010, the European Union established a four-year cycle to develop certain policies in terms of organised International crime and the threats this poses for different European states and citizens. The objective of these policies is to ensure cooperation between the different actors involved to achieve a coherent and coordinated performance to address the threats to the European Union posed by organised crime. On 1st January of this year the second cycle started, to succeed the first (2014-2017), which ended in 2021.

On 5th June, during the Council of Justice and Interior of the Council of the European Union, which took place in Luxemburg, the ministers of justice and the interior of the different countries of the Union and/or permanent representatives of these on the Council reviewed and assessed the impact of the first cycle (2014-2017), and also dealt with issues like the policy regarding the granting of visas, migration policy and the European system of asylum. The participants at the Council agreed to declare the success of the Policy Cycles project as a tool of cooperation between European states to combat organised crime and the added value it provides.

Moreover, different aspects that needed to be focused on and worked on were determined:

  • Strengthen coordination between organisms at a national level
  • Make the EU Policy Cycle known to the competent authorities
  • Promote knowledge of the project externally
  • Promote the commitment of organs of the European Union to the project
  • Develop new solutions beyond the traditional application of the law to address the priorities and needs of the Union

The areas to be focused on in the cycle 2018-2021 are those adopted as priorities by the Council of the European Union in May of last year, based on recommendations made by the SOCTA (Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment):

  • Cyber crime
  • Drug trafficking
  • Illegal immigration trafficking
  • Organised crime against property
  • Unknown intracommunity operator fraud
  • Environmental crime
  • Capital laundering and financial crime
  • Falsifying documentation

Based on adopted action points and priorities, EUROPOL is designing the strategic plans (MASP – Multi Annual Strategic Action Plans) that define specific objectives to combat this threat. Once the plans are defined, the different projects of the EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats) establishes the action plans (OAP – Operational Action Plans). For each priority area a different OAP is designed that will be implemented in a coordinated way by the different states and organisations of the Union. The fourth and last step of the cycle is the revision and assessment of the effectiveness of the different OAPs when combating each of the priority threats by the Permanente Operative Cooperation Committee in terms of Internal Security (COSI), and also based on the SOCTA drawn up by EUROPOL. With the assessment of results, the COSI is responsible for recommending adaptations and modifications in any area.

In accordance with the different assessments of the project both by EUROPOL and by the Council of Ministers of Justice and the Interior of the Council of the European Union, the results of the EU Policy Cycle are positive and noteworthy in each of the priority areas. We are still, however, in the first year of the second cycle and it is therefore too soon to determine its success. It will be necessary to, at least, wait until the next assessment by the COSI or until 2021, when the assessment report will be published with recommendations for the next four years.

For further information:

Justice and Home Affairs Council (04-05/06/2018): https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/jha/2018/06/04-05/

EU Policy Cycle (EMPACT): https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-trends/eu-policy-cycle-empact

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