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News / EU supporting the Western Balkans to combat cross-border crime
Cross-border crime can only be eradicated with cross-border cooperation. This was the key message from Olivér Várhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, to over 150 public prosecutors and other law enforcement authorities at the launch of the 21st edition of the European Union’s Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) International Forum for Prosecutors, on 28–29 September.
Criminals are increasingly operating across the state borders and ruthlessly exploiting 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 central to the EU Security Union Strategy, which calls for closer police and judicial cooperation, including with EU’s closest neighbourhood.
The two-day virtual conference was organised jointly with the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, EUROJUST, and the European Public Prosecutors’ Office. It brought together senior prosecutors and representatives of the judiciary from the EU Member States, the Western Balkans, and the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhoods to exchange lessons from investigating and prosecuting cross-border crime.
Speaking at the event, Laura Kövesi, European Chief Prosecutor (pictured) explained the key role played by the EPPO: “The EPPO is a single prosecution office. We have the ability to investigate cross-border in 22 Member States of the EU so far, without cumbersome mutual legal assistance formalities. […] The EPPO has the potential to change the paradigm of cross border investigations involving organised crime.”
Over the past year alone, TAIEX has enabled over 30 initiatives mobilising over 70 EU experts from 19 countries to support 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 for mobilising European public sector expertise to support peer learning with partner country administrations.
Photo credits:European Union
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