Annexes to COM(2023)641 - EU roadmap to fight drug trafficking and organised crime

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dossier COM(2023)641 - EU roadmap to fight drug trafficking and organised crime.
document COM(2023)641
date October 18, 2023
agreement on the interconnection of bank account registries as well as by the strengthened rules on anti-money laundering. Once the AML/CFT legislative package is adopted, the future Anti-money Laundering Authority (AMLA) will provide operational support to Financial Intelligence Units when carrying joint analyses. This will contribute to a more effective detection and analysis of cross-border cases.

As a complement to anti-money laundering rules, some Member States have set up public-private partnerships enabling the exchange of operational information among authorities and banks and financial and credit institutions. These partnerships help private bodies, which are at the forefront of identifying illicit financial flows among billions of daily transactions, to detect difficult-to-find activity. To facilitate the development of this type of cooperation across Member States, Europol’s Financial Intelligence Public-Private Partnership will develop, within the limits of Europol’s mandate, a blueprint summarising the legal frameworks and practical steps taken in Member States and third countries to set up partnerships against money laundering by mid-2024. This blueprint should take into account the best practices and legal considerations set out in the Commission’s staff working document on this subject39 and the outcome of the negotiations on the anti-money laundering package. It should in particular build on the steps already taken by Member States to ensure that the exchange of personal data is limited to what is necessary and proportionate to the purpose of preventing, detecting and investigating money laundering offences and the safeguards set out to protect personal data.

Law enforcement authorities should use parallel financial investigations more systematically when investigating organised crime. However, carrying out complex financial investigations requires specialised expertise, capacity and technological tools. Europol’s Financial and Economic Crime Centre, which in 2022 supported over 400 financial investigations40, and Eurojust, which provides competent authorities with guidelines and best practices on the recovery of illicit assets are key in supporting Member States. In particular, the Centre can provide valuable support to joint activities on investigations into underground banking. Furthermore, CEPOL’s training capabilities can help Member States increase the skills and expertise of law enforcement in financial investigations.

Building the financial profile of a criminal network requires putting together and analysing different sources of information, including information on crypto assets, which are often used by drug trafficking groups to hide their financial trail. It also requires harmonising the different formats of the data collected, identifying entities in unstructured datasets and cross matching a large number of subjects. Some Member States, such as Latvia, Slovenia and Spain, have developed or are developing their own tools for financial transaction analysis to this effect. The ma³tch tool in, hosted and managed by the Commission since 2021, allows Financial Intelligence Units to crossmatch information (e.g., concerning transactions) in a pseudonymised way and enables them to establish in real time if a subject is already known by another unit. If this is the case, information can be exchanged, and cases built together. Financial Intelligence Units are strongly encouraged to make full use of the’s ma³tch functionality.

Additionally, under the Horizon Europe programme, the Commission will publish a call for research and innovation on security in June 2024 that will provide further funding opportunities for the development and uptake of specific tools to conduct effective financial investigations41.

Action 7: Facilitating digital investigations

Main actors: Commission, Member States, Europol, Eurojust, CEPOL

As our everyday activities move online more than ever, so do illegal activities. Investigators are faced with the reality that criminals have been quick to exploit the possibilities offered by the online world and continue to use more and more advanced technologies to achieve their aims. Therefore, the Commission seeks to explore several strands of work to respond to these developments. The High-Level Group on access to data for effective law enforcement was launched by the Commission in June 202342. The High-Level Group brings together law enforcement and judicial authorities, data protection, privacy and cybersecurity experts, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and academia. The group explores challenges that law enforcement practitioners face in their daily work and potential solutions to overcome them, with the aim of ensuring the adequate access to data, to fight crime and enhance public security in the digital age. The group will issue a report in 2024 with technical, operational or legal recommendations.

The Commission is also helping increase the capacity of Member States’ authorities to carry out digital investigations by supporting the European Cybercrime Training and Education Group43 in developing training resources. This group has trained at least 1 000 police officers in the last 3 years. Furthermore, the Commission funds the European Anti-Cybercrime Technology Development Association44 to develop digital tools to support investigations, which are then made available for free to EU law enforcement authorities and Europol. Eurojust supports the fight against cybercrime through the European Judicial Cybercrime Network with strategic support and best practices.

Drug trafficking itself also takes place online both on darknet markets and on the clearnet, including through social media. There are significant challenges to tackle this kind of trafficking. The Commission will work to address online drug trafficking, including through collaboration with the private sector through the EU Internet Forum. The Forum will deliver a knowledge package in 2024 aimed at supporting social media companies in better moderating drugs content on their platforms. Furthermore, the Commission will develop an IT tool in 2024 to help law enforcement authorities monitor the darknet to counter drug trafficking45. Finally, under the Horizon Europe Programme, the Commission will fund a security research project using Artificial Intelligence in fighting illicit drugs production and trafficking as of November 2023.

Action 8: Unlocking the potential of Schengen Information System alerts

Main actors: Commission, Member States, Europol

The exchange of operational information across borders is vital to detect and apprehend criminals. The features of the Schengen Information System (SIS) – by a new legal framework that has entered into force in March 202346 – help prevent criminals and terrorists from moving within or entering the EU undetected. The upgraded SIS includes new categories of alerts and biometrics (such as palm prints, finger marks and DNA records) to correctly identify people travelling under a false identity and information about the cars or other objects they are using. New alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks, inquiry checks or specific checks enable authorities to collect targeted information on suspects of serious or organised crime or terrorism.

Additionally, Europol’s recently strengthened mandate permits the agency to support Member States in processing data transmitted by non-EU countries or international organisations. Europol may also propose that Member States enter information alerts in the SIS47.

Member States are therefore strongly encouraged to make full use of the tools available in SIS to fight serious and organised crime. In particular, it is crucial that Member States issue alerts on members or enablers of high-risk criminal networks in the system and report hits to Europol. In March 2023, the Commission launched a study to explore, assess and propose various options to innovate the exchange of supplementary information on SIS alerts by the national offices (the SIRENE Bureaux) to allow for a better use of this information. In 2026, the Commission will carry out an overall evaluation of the central SIS, the supplementary information exchange between national authorities, including an assessment of the automated fingerprint identification system, and SIS information campaigns.

Action 9: Towards a more robust legal framework against organised crime

Main actors: Commission, European Parliament, Council, High Representative

An effective EU legal framework is essential to provide law enforcement and judicial authorities with the necessary tools to fight organised crime. A study published in February 2023 assessing the effectiveness of the 2008 Framework Decision on Organised Crime48 highlighted wide divergences among Member States in the offences, penalties and investigative tools related to participating in a criminal organisation. These differences create obstacles in cross-border cooperation and can discourage authorities from investigating criminal networks and their members.

To address the identified shortcomings, the Commission will work with Member States, the European Parliament, EU agencies and bodies and other stakeholders to strengthen the legal framework against organised crime and its implementation. An assessment of the existing legal framework will also need to look at harmonised legal definitions of organised crime and adapt them to the reality of criminal networks and their key members to ensure dissuasive sanctions for participating in or running a criminal organisation. In order for the competent authorities to better detect and investigate organised criminal activities, the review should explore measures that ensure authorities have the appropriate special investigative techniques at their disposal. A reflection should take place about the need for additional measures, such as national organised crime strategies, as well as specialised units with expertise from several disciplines to tackle complex investigations. Furthermore, the review should explore whether measures at EU level would be necessary to facilitate the collaboration of crown witnesses.

Specifically on drug trafficking, the Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking49 will be evaluated in 2024. The rules, especially those on criminal sanctions, could be amended, modernised and strengthened.

Further reflections should take place at EU level on whether other measures could be relevant that limit the ability of members of criminal networks to access the EU’s internal market. Certain measures, which have been applied by third countries, could be a valuable complement to law enforcement efforts, cutting off criminals from the funds that allow them to infiltrate the economy and limiting their capacity to operate across borders, especially when the suspect is located outside the EU.


3. Prevention

The Commission considers crime prevention to be an integral part of a long-term response to combating organised crime. The EU’s policy on crime prevention focuses on creating technical or administrative barriers that prevent individuals from committing a crime. In addition, it promotes exchanges of experience and best practices to mitigate factors that encourage crime and recidivism, including efforts to prevent people from ending up in vulnerable situations that may lead them to criminal behaviour. Prevention is an integral part of the EU’s security policy, covering drugs50, corruption51, cybercrime52 and many other areas.

A multidisciplinary and inter-agency approach to crime prevention should include close cooperation with local authorities and civil society. This can contribute to reducing the likelihood of criminal activity by building barriers, raising the awareness of potential victims and supporting vulnerable individuals and communities to reduce the risk of falling into crime. The Commission supports Member States and local policymakers and practitioners in promoting evidence-based policies and tools to prevent crime. The Commission also stresses the need for policymakers and practitioners at EU, national and local levels to connect and exchange information through clearly designated and well-established dissemination and communication channels.

Action 10: Preventing organised crime activities through administrative measures

Main actors: Commission, Member States, Europol, European Network on the Administrative Approach

More than 80% of the criminal networks active today in the EU use legal business structures for their criminal activities53. For example, they set up small businesses to launder their illicit gains or compete in public tenders, defrauding public institutions. Therefore, it is vital that administrative authorities are aware of the major role they can play in combating organised crime. In addition, suitable procedures must be put in place at national and local levels to shut down a business, perform background checks before granting permits, tenders and subsidies and put in place other barriers, such as inspections (for example health or labour inspections) that prevent criminals from committing a crime.

Several Member States have well-developed frameworks in place where local authorities are empowered to use administrative tools to prevent the criminal infiltration of legal businesses and administrative infrastructure. In other Member States, however, the administrative approach is still underdeveloped. Moreover, differences in national frameworks and practices complicate cross-border collaboration, resulting in criminals simply crossing the border to set up new fraudulent businesses if their previous business is closed by the authorities.

Therefore, the exchange of best practices and guidance among all Member States should be further strengthened to help Member States set up national frameworks to apply the administrative approach. The Commission will develop practical guidance in 2024 on the use of administrative tools and the exchange of information in the fight against criminal infiltration. This work will draw on the experience of the EU Regional Information and Expertise Centre54 (an EU-funded project supporting the cross-border administrative approach between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands), the European Network on the Administrative Approach55 and EMPACT.

The administrative approach is one of EMPACT's nine common horizontal strategic goals. The Commission strongly encourages Member States and Europol to carry out specific operational measures in 2024 and 2025 that contribute to this goal.

Action 11: Combating the proliferation of designer precursors

Main actors: Commission, European Parliament, Council, EMCDDA

Criminals use and divert chemicals needed in the production of everyday products for the manufacture of illegal drugs. In order to limit and control access to these drug precursors, the EU has already put rules in place.56 However, criminals can easily circumvent the existing controls for these substances by creating ever new designer precursors: close chemical relatives of traditional drug precursors. They are made to circumvent customs controls and do not have any known legitimate use.

The existing EU legislative framework on drug precursors57 follows a time consuming ‘substance-by-substance scheduling’ approach, which makes it difficult to keep up with the speed of innovation of organised crime. Each time a new substance is identified as drug precursor and subsequently scheduled for control and monitoring, organised crime groups respond by altering the molecular structure slightly and create a new designer precursor. This can be done much faster than the time it takes to schedule (control) a substance.

Therefore, as from 2024, the Commission plans to set out innovative ways for speeding up and broadening the existing approach of scheduling drug precursors. The range of scheduled substances will be extended to clearly identified derivatives and related chemicals that can easily be converted to or used as substitutes during illicit production. On the timing of scheduling. In addition, the Commission will make every effort to fast-track the adoption procedure of future delegated acts that schedule additional substances, by working hand in hand with the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission will propose implementing this new approach to the fullest extent possible within the existing EU legal framework when scheduling additional substances.

At a later stage, following an in-depth examination of the issues at stake and possible solutions, and building on the outcome of the evaluation of the EU drug precursors regulations,58 the Commission may review these regulations59 also with a view to tackle the identified issues of designer precursors. The Commission supports international efforts and will continue to do so in the future. The EU has been pursuing stronger multilateral cooperation on and awareness raising about the challenges posed by non-scheduled substances, particularly designer precursors. The EU is also closely monitoring and contributing to the work of the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which regularly reviews and analyses the global drug situation. The EU will continue to work closely with the International Narcotics Control Board and like-minded countries that are taking in its pursuit of concrete action against this phenomenon. It is vital to increase responsiveness, as currently, criminals have ample time to figure out how to circumvent controls.

Action 12: Preventing criminal networks from recruiting children and young people

Main actors: Commission, Member States (including local authorities), EMCDDA, European Crime Prevention Network, civil society organisations

Criminal networks, including drug traffickers, exploit vulnerable people and use young people or even children to carry out criminal activities. These activities include burglaries, shoplifting, emptying containers filled with drugs, placing explosives, committing online fraud, or ‘lending’ bank accounts. In search of easy money, young people are tempted to drop out of school or employment. To protect young people and disrupt criminal activity, it is essential to invest in effective crime prevention policies and tools.

Crime prevention involves local communities, families, schools, the social welfare sector, civil society, law enforcement, the judiciary, prison authorities and the private sector. The effective use of EU and national resources to improve social cohesion, address unemployment and ensure that young people do not abandon their education is very relevant in this context. Through the European Social Fund+, the Commission will continue to help vulnerable young people reach their potential by supporting local initiatives to combat poverty, social inclusion and youth unemployment, in line with the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights60.

Building on the experience of the European Crime Prevention Network, the Radicalisation Awareness Network and EMPACT, the Commission will strengthen the exchange of knowledge and best practices on crime prevention. Along with Member States, the EU Crime Prevention Network and other stakeholders, the Commission will bring crime prevention practitioners and policymakers together for a high-level conference on crime prevention in 2024 and present a collection of best practices on preventing recruitment in organised crime.

Action 13: Improving public safety and public health in areas affected by the use and sale of drugs and drug-related crime.

Main actors: Commission, Member States, EMCDDA

In several EU countries, drug-related criminal hubs have been developing. Some locations, such as urban neighbourhoods, train and metro stations and urban wastelands, are particularly affected by the sale of drugs, drug use and drug-related crimes. This is due to many factors, including poverty and social exclusion. This leads to insecurity for local communities, and people using drugs in these areas continue to suffer from health problems, stigma and social harm. The challenges posed by this concentration of illicit activities cannot be resolved by local authorities alone and require sustainable solutions.

Due to significant differences in local, regional and national situations, targeted solutions must be identified that combine a law enforcement response with social and health measures. It is crucial to create a space for the exchange of best practices and evidence-based approaches between those concerned. The Commission, with the support of the EMCDDA, will organise a high-level conference in 2024, bringing together law enforcement, health and social professionals and local authorities, including health services, to draw up best practices. As part of EMPACT, joint action and training will be held based on the EMCDDA’s European Prevention Curriculum61.

4. International cooperation

The global reach of criminal networks and their interconnectedness has made it more urgent for the EU to look beyond its borders for comprehensive solutions. In the fight against drug trafficking, priority is given to cooperation with those countries and regions in which the main drug supply routes run and that are particularly affected by the adverse effects of drug trafficking. Cooperation with key partners that can help provide solutions is also crucial. EU’s external action and partnerships are comprehensive, focusing on both prevention and the fight against organised crime.

The EU should continue to improve law enforcement and judicial cooperation with those countries whose national legal frameworks are abused by criminals in order to hide themselves or their assets. Moreover, under the umbrella of the Global Gateway Strategy62, the EU will continue to invest in partners’ infrastructure needs, notably plugging vulnerabilities in logistic hubs through dedicated Team Europe Initiatives that also support security and technological enhancement.

As regards the protection of ports against criminal infiltration, in its engagement with non-EU countries, the Commission stresses the importance of them adhering fully to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (especially the special measures to improve maritime security) and the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code63.

Action 14: Strengthening support to operational anti-drug trafficking operations in West Africa

Main EU actors: Commission, Member States, MAOC (N), Europol.

The Gulf of Guinea has become one of the major drug trafficking routes from South America. Drugs make their way to Europe through the Gulf of Guinea in fishing vessels, pleasure crafts, sailing boats and other types of ships leaving South America. These vessels load their illicit cargo off the coast and sail towards the Gulf of Guinea to deliver the drugs to other ships. These ships then bring the shipment to shore, and from there, the drugs are smuggled across the Sahara Desert into Europe.

In line with the EU Maritime Security Strategy for evolving maritime threats and the action plan64 and the EU strategy on the Gulf of Guinea65, the Commission, together with EU Member States, will work to tackle this drug-supply route in a coordinated way. They will do so by exchanging information, strengthening the national maritime presence in the area, facilitating joint operations with the support of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC (N)) and further supporting the development of Western African countries’ capacity to fight drug trafficking, for instance through the Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP).

The upcoming maritime security programme “Enhancing maritime security in Africa” (Safe Seas for Africa) aims to strengthen the capacities of law enforcement agencies to tackle trafficking of narcotics at sea, both in the Gulf of Guinea region, as well as along the Swahili coast and in the island region of the Western Indian Ocean.

Furthermore, for West Africa, the EU is in the process of exploring a potential future regional intervention guided by a comprehensive ‘trafficking corridors and hubs’ approach. Such a program would further contribute to stabilization efforts, notably by addressing potential existing connections between organized crime and the proliferation of terrorist activities in West Africa.

Action 15: Boosting EU cooperation with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in the fight against organised crime

Main EU actors: Commission, Europol, Eurojust, Member States.

As the criminal threats faced by Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the EU seriously affect the security and well-being of people in both regions, we must join forces to fight the threat. As a matter of priority, to improve law enforcement cooperation with Latin America, the Commission is negotiating international agreements on the exchange of personal data with Europol with Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. The Commission is also intensifying work to conclude negotiations on international judicial cooperation agreements with Eurojust with Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. The Commission will also consider proposing to extend the Council’s mandate in particular to other Latin American countries for Eurojust’s future engagement on judicial cooperation in the region.

As part of the strenghtened EU-LAC partnership on Justice and Security and its Team Europe Initiative, there are regional programmes that support integrated border management efforts and the fight against trafficking and smuggling of human beings in several South American countries66 (EUROFRONT) as well as reducing the supply and demand of drugs in Latin America and the Caribbean (COPOLAD) and the Global Illicit Flows Programme, which seeks to build capacity to combat organised crime across Latin America and the Caribbean (among other regions). High-level dialogue will also be enhanced through the EU-CELAC Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs. In this regard, the new edition of EL PAcCTO 2.0 will provide additional resources to strengthen law enforcement cooperation between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries, including support to AMERIPOL. As part of EL PAcCTO 2.0., a joint project will support and strengthen the exchange of information and intelligence, streamline operations, and maximise the use of data between Europol and Colombia to disrupt criminal drug trafficking networks. Following the Team Europe approach, the Commission will also explore possibilities to support local special investigative teams to carry out complex investigations in non-EU countries.

In 2022, 44 tonnes of cocaine were seized in Guayaquil in Ecuador. Ports in the Guayaquil area have become one of the most used logistic hubs to traffic drugs to Europe via containers. Together with national authorities, the Commission will launch a specific assessment of the vulnerabilities of the ports of Guayaquil and its bay area to prioritise future activities, including EU support.

Action 16: Forging alliances to address synthetic drug threats

Main actors: Commission, Europol, EMCDDA and Member States

Synthetic drugs can be manufactured easily and rapidly all around the world in large quantities and from cheap chemicals. Synthetic drugs have proliferated in the last decade at international and regional levels and pose a real threat to health and safety. There is also a growing concern over the production of synthetic drugs in Europe, which are exported around the world. The EU should therefore take responsibility and contribute to countering this phenomenon, particularly by seeking out international partners. Exchanging information and sharing experiences is highly valuable, especially with North American countries where fentanyl-related problems are most prevalent. The EU needs to increase preparedness and put in place robust surveillance measures.

On 7 July 2023, the Commission confirmed that the EU would join the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats launched by the United States. The Commission and the High Representative, together with the relevant EU agencies and Member States, will contribute to the Coalition’s work to improve global surveillance capacity, strengthen preparedness for the challenges from the manufacture and trafficking of synthetic drugs and develop approaches to reduce drug demand and drug-related harm. The Commission also supports US efforts to present a UN General Assembly resolution on synthetic drugs for endorsement in December 2023.

The Commission will also hold further exchanges with China, in particular via the EU Dialogue on Drugs, to boost cooperation on illicit drugs production and the diversion and trafficking of drug precursors and other essential chemicals for the illicit manufacture of drugs. Alongside the next EU-China Dialogue on Drugs to be held in 2024, the Commission intends to resume mutual administrative assistance as part of the EU-China Joint Follow-up Group on Precursors to exchange information. This will also help prevent the diversion of precursors and chemical substances frequently used in the manufacture of illicit drugs traded between the EU and China.

Action 17: Strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation with uncooperative jurisdictions

Main actors: Commission, Member States

Modern criminal networks are cross border in nature. They use international commercial routes to traffic all sorts of illegal goods and exploit the gaps between jurisdictions to traffic drugs and conceal and launder their vast criminal revenue67. At the same time, uncooperative jurisdictions are used as safe havens for high-value fugitives to escape investigation and prosecution. Moreover, those who run underground banking systems usually hide in countries where police and judicial cooperation with the EU is complex and where they can enjoy a high standard of living.

Recent major investigations, such as the successful Operation Desert Light supported by Europol in November 202268, have also shown the crucial need for effective judicial cooperation with non-EU countries to ensure that apprehended criminals are extradited, prosecuted and convicted. It is therefore essential to strengthen law enforcement and judicial cooperation with non-EU countries. Particular attention should be paid to extradition, financial investigations and the recovery of criminal assets outside the EU, including through close cooperation of Member States’ or EU Agency liaison officers posted in non-EU countries. To step up coordination, maximise the EU’s impact and improve engagement with non-EU countries, the creation and deployment of EU law enforcement and judicial liaison officers in key non-EU countries should be considered.

Alongside improved operational activities, it is also important to have a common legal framework for effective criminal law cooperation at international level. The Commission in its engagement with non-EU countries invites them to become parties to the Council of Europe conventions in the area of mutual legal assistance69 extradition70 and freezing and confiscation71.

The Commission will work on identifying the current issues faced by Member States with non-EU countries to combine diplomatic efforts for more effective cooperation that is in line with EU fundamental rights standards. Furthermore, the Commission will explore the possibility to launch negotiations to conclude specific EU extradition agreements, where the preconditions for the conclusion of such agreements are fulfilled.

5. Working together and providing support

Since the adoption of the EU strategies, the Commission, Member States and EU agencies and bodies have met regularly to build a multidisciplinary community of policymakers and practitioners and engage in a regular dialogue. The Commission will continue to work with all stakeholders on the implementation of the organised crime strategy and the actions presented in this Communication to exchange best practices, facilitate sharing information and operational cooperation and reflect on future needs.

Furthermore, the Commission has mobilised funding to support the fight against organised crime with dedicated EU funding for 2023-2025. It will organise calls for proposals under the Internal Security Fund on several topics, including corruption, digital investigations, and support to EMPACT. In particular, the Commission will launch a call for proposals on organised crime for a total of EUR 20 million by the end of 2023.


4. Conclusions

The scale, sophistication and violent consequences of organised crime have become a serious threat to the EU’s security. As criminal networks’ methods become more sophisticated, so should the EU’s: the response to dismantle these networks needs to be stepped up urgently. This document therefore has set out key actions needed at EU level to intensify the fight against high-risk criminal networks and drug trafficking. Work on fully implementing the EU strategies on organised crime and drugs should continue at full speed. The Commission commits to implementing these additional actions in 2024 and 2025, in close cooperation with Member States and EU agencies and bodies.

Common, robust and effective rules are essential to boost national measures, as well as EU and international cooperation against organised crime and drug trafficking and to protect victims of these crimes. The Commission invites the European Parliament and the Council to adopt by the end of the legislature the Confiscation and Asset Recovery Directive, the revision of the Prüm Regulation, the rules on the interconnection of bank account registries, the proposed anti-money-laundering legislative package, and the draft Directive on combating corruption by criminal law. The Commission reiterates its commitment to work closely with the co-legislators to achieve this aim.

Fighting organised crime and drug trafficking must be a priority for the EU and its Member States. We must address the threats we face together, which is why the Commission proposes to the European Parliament and the Council to fully endorse the priorities and medium- to long-term measures set out in this roadmap.




4 The Other Side of the Coin: An Analysis of Financial and Economic Crime | Europol (

5 European Drug Report 2023, EMCDDA,

6 COM/2021/170 final.

7 COM/2020/ 606 final.

8 COM/2023/ [exact reference to be included once available].

9 COM/2022/245 final.

10 COM/2021/429 final.

11 COM/2021/421 final, COM/2021/420 final, COM/2021/423 final and Regulation (EU) 2015/847 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on information accompanying transfers of funds and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1781/2006 (Text with EEA relevance) (OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 1).

12 COM/2023/257 final.

13 COM/2023/234 final.

14 Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA (OJ L 135 24.5.2016).

15 COM/2021/780 final.

16 Directive (EU) 2023/977 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 2023 on the exchange of information between the law enforcement authorities of Member States and repealing Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA (OJ L 134, 22.5.2023).

17 COM/2021/784 final.

18 Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of 12 October 2017 implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’) (OJ L 283, 31.10.2017, p. 1).

19 Regulation (EU) 2023/1543 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2023 on European Production Orders and European Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal proceedings and for the execution of custodial sentences following criminal proceedings (OJ L 191, 28.7.2023, p. 118) and

Directive (EU) 2023/1544 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2023 laying down harmonised rules on the designation of designated establishments and the appointment of legal representatives for the purpose of gathering electronic evidence in criminal proceedings (OJ L 191, 28.7.2023, p. 181).

20 Regulation (EU) 2023/1322 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2023 on the European Union Drugs Agency (EUDA) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (OJ L 166, 30.6.2023).

21 Funded through the Internal Security Fund, EUR 2 million for 2024-2025.


23 Statistics – MAOC (N).

24 The revised EUMSS has been sent to the Council for its endorsement

25 JOIN 2023/17 final


27 The West-African Response on Cybersecurity and Fight against Cybercrime (OCWAR-C), the West-African response to the fight against Money Laundering and the financing of Terrorism (OCWAR-M) and the West-African response to Trafficking (OCWAR-T).

28 European Commission, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, Assessment of potential of maritime and inland ports and inland waterways and of related policy measures, including industrial policy measures – Final report, Publications Office, 2020,


30 Ibid.

31 Council Resolution on customs cooperation in the area of law enforcement and its contribution to the internal security of the EU.

32 Regulation (EU) 2021/444 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2021 establishing the Customs programme for cooperation in the field of customs (OJ L 87, 15.3.2021).

33 CELBET (Customs Eastern and South-Eastern Land Borders Expert Team) is a Member States` expert team gathering the 11 eastern and south-eastern land borders Member States (BG, FI, EE, EL, HR, HU, LT, LV, PL, SK, RO), and financed under the Customs programme. It has been particularly effective in delivering operational solutions on the ground, has proven experience in collaborating with other law enforcement authorities and ultimately ensures that customs controls are performed in a harmonised way at the land border of the EU.

34 Regulation (EU) 2021/1077 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 June 2021 establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment (OJ L 234, 2.7.2021).

35 Border detection of illicit drugs and precursors by highly accurate electrosensors | BorderSens | Project | Fact sheet | H2020 | CORDIS | European Commission (

36 See Regulation (EC) No 725/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on enhancing ship and port facility security, OJ 129/6 and Directive 2005/65/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 26 October 2005 on enhancing port security (OJ L310/28).

37 The Other Side of the Coin: An Analysis of Financial and Economic Crime | Europol (

38 ST 8927/20, .

39 Commission staff working document on the use of public-private partnerships in the framework of preventing and fighting money laundering and terrorist financing, Brussels, 27.10.2022 (SWD/2022. 347 final).



42 COM/2023/3647 final



45 Implementing the preparatory action on the EU-coordinated darknet monitoring to counter criminal activities proposed by the European Parliament, with the involvement of the EMCDDA as well as Europol, in line with the EU drugs strategy and action plan.

46 Regulation (EU) 2018/1862 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 November 2018 on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, amending and repealing Council Decision 2007/533/JHA, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Decision 2010/261/EU (OJ L 312 7.12.2018, p. 56).

47 Regulation (EU) 2022/991 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2022 amending Regulation (EU) 2016/794, as regards Europol’s cooperation with private parties, the processing of personal data by Europol in support of criminal investigations, and Europol’s role in research and innovation (OJ L 169, 27.6.2022, p. 1).

48 Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA of 24 October 2008 on the fight against organised crime (OJ L 300, 11.11.2008).

49 Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 October 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking (OJ L 335, 11.11.2004, p. 8).

50 COM/2020/ 606 final.

51 COM/2023/ 234 final.




55 Homepage - European Network on the Administrative Approach.

56 Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 of 22 December 2004 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors, OJ L 22, 26.1.2005, p. 1–10, and Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 on drug precursors, OJ L47, 18.2.2004.

57 Council Regulation (EC) No  111/2005 of 22  December 2004 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors, (OJ L 22, 26.1.2005, p.  1–-10), and Regulation (EC) No  273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11  February 2004 on drug precursors, (OJ L47, 18.2.2004).

58 COM/2020/ 768 final.

59 Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 of 22 December 2004 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors (OJ L 22, 26.1.2005, p. 1–) and Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 on drug precursors (OJ L47, 18.2.2004)..

60 COM/2017/ 250 final.


62 JOIN/2021/30 final

63 SOLAS XI-2 and the ISPS Code (

64 The revised EUMSS has been sent to the Council for its endorsement.

65 EU Strategy on the Gulf of Guinea, 17 March 2014, Council of the European Union

66 Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.



69 Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance (ETS No 30),

70 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition (ETS No 24),

71 Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CTS No 198),