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Europol report identifies the most threatening criminal networks in the EU


Europol’s new report, published today, entitled “Decoding the EU’s most threatening criminal networks”, delves into the characteristics of the criminal networks that pose the highest threat. This Europe-wide analysis focuses on criminal actors in a first-of-its-kind mapping of the most threatening criminal networks. It describes, in detail, how the most threatening criminal networks are organised, which criminal activities they engage in, and how and where they operate. It also assesses which of their characteristics increase the threat posed by these networks.

This mapping report is one of the key deliverables of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union which strongly encouraged the efforts of Europol in this respect. It will be an essential tool to fight organised crime, a top EU priority, as outlined in the recent roadmap presented by the European Commission.

Speaking at a press conference on the occasion of the presentation of the main findings of the report, Europol’s Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, said: “Criminals thrive in secrecy, but we are changing that. This Europol report is the most extensive study on key criminal networks ever undertaken at the European level by law enforcement. Thanks to the collaboration of all EU Member States and 17 Europol partner countries, we are shining a light on the activities of the most threatening criminal networks in the EU. This data, now centralised at Europol, will give law enforcement agencies the edge they need to better target and conduct cross-border criminal investigations”.

The Belgian Minister of Home Affairs, Annelies Verlinden, said: “We are introducing a new tool in the battle against serious and organised crime – a testament to the power of unity and innovation within the European Union. This report represents a significant milestone for our Belgian Presidency, and indeed, for the entire European community, reflecting our unwavering commitment to safeguarding the safety and security of our citizens. While this report is a very important achievement in itself, it is just the beginning. Considerable work and further steps are required in the coming months and years”.

The Belgian Minister of Justice, Paul Van Tigchelt, said: “Combating organised crime is an absolute priority for the Belgian Presidency and this is an important new weapon in that fight. We now have, for the first time, all crucial data on the most threatening criminal networks in one location - with Europol. The next step is for the various police forces of the Member States to continue to enrich this centralised information so we can further prosecute and dismantle these networks”.