The European Commission wants to investigate how the fight against cocaine trade can be improved. This includes a screening of the port of Antwerp. learned that Knack.
Now that the violence in the port of Antwerp is increasing in proportions, the European Commission wants to help Member States in their fight against cocaine trafficking. The Directorate-General for Home Affairs is working on a proposal to screen some European ports. The aim is to cooperate with national authorities
For now, Europe plans to take a closer look at the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Algeciras in Spain. Those so-called thematic reviews, to take place from March to May next year, should uncover weaknesses and best practices put together, that’s what it sounds like.
Also small marinas
An analysis by Europol shows that the number of seizures in these three ports in question increased sharply in 2020, with Antwerp being the undisputed European leader with 66 tons of cocaine intercepted. Based on what the Commission is learning in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, it intends to carry out evaluations in Germany, Italy, Greece and France.
The intention is that in this second phase the Commission will not only have large seaports, but also so-called second entry points screened. Think of airports or smaller marinas.
It is the first time that the European Commission organizes screenings for drug-related cases.
The evaluation team consists of representatives from the Member States, Europol and Frontex and is led by the Commission. They will watch on the site how the port staff try to detect cocaine. In addition, the Commission draws up questionnaires to gain more insights. Due to the agreements between the Schengen countries, the Commission is responsible for this – in principle it can even carry out unannounced checks.
Verlinden applauds initiative
Last Thursday the member states were informed, last Monday the idea was discussed in Brussels. The intention is that the proposal will be knocked off by 1 November of this year at the latest.
It is no coincidence that the focus is specifically on cocaine. “That stimulant is causing significant harm to general safety, health and the mainstream economy,” said a well-placed European source.
Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) is positive about the European initiative. “We welcome this initiative by the Commission,” he said.