Six countries sign "anti-narco coalition" in Amsterdam
Ministers and other representatives of six European countries came to an agreement during talks in Amsterdam about closer cooperation in the fight against organized crime. They will share more data, see if they can do a better job of mapping out financial channels, and try to work more closely with countries in other parts of the world. Belgian minister Vincent Van Quickenborne stated that an "anti-narco coalition" was founded in Amsterdam on Friday.
Dutch Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz spoke in the Amstel Hotel with representatives from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The European Commission and the police and judicial organizations Europol and Eurojust were also represented. "Only with cooperation, good organization and ensuring that you can share information can you really tackle criminal power structures," said the minister. The multinational agreement should help with that. It has also been agreed that a new follow-up meeting will be organized in Antwerp next year.
Van Quickenborne is Belgium's justice minister. In his role, he is not only responsible for fighting crime, but he has also been the target of threats which he believes originates from drug criminals. "It is a difficult period, but these kinds of meetings give me energy," said the minister.
"The Netherlands and Belgium must cooperate much better," said the justice minister. He believes that there should be more cooperation to better control the sea containers at the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, both of which are widely used for the drug trade. Both Van Quickenborne and Yeşilgöz emphasized that the companies that operate in those ports also bear some responsibility.
According to Van Quickenborne, countries should have better access to each other's databases. "If today, a Belgian police patrol in Belgium stops a Dutch vehicle with Dutch passengers, we can consult the Belgian database but not the Dutch one." He wants these kinds of agreements to make that easier. The six countries have also made agreements about this.
When the Belgian government organizes a new summit next year, Van Quickenborne expects the coalition countries to have strengthened their information sharing. He also hopes that the countries would then better act together against the countries that "house criminals" and enable them to become rich while there.
He explicitly mentioned the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Turkey. And Van Quickenborne hopes that the coalition itself will be expanded, for example to include Scandinavian countries.