Paris, France, January 2020 – Efus has created a new working group on “the local roots and impacts of organised crime” that is open to all interested members. Led by the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam (NL), it was officially launched on 10 December 2019 in Brussels (BE) in a meeting that also gathered representatives of the cities of Essen and Berlin (DE) and the Emilia Romagna region (IT).
> An issue that concerns local and regional authorities
Organised crime has long been a cause for concern for European local authorities and Efus. Indeed, a section of the “Security, Democracy and Cities” 2017 Manifesto, which resulted from Efus’ international conference in Barcelona (November 2017), is dedicated to this issue.
In this document, Efus member cities say that organised crime “is embedded locally in economic and social structures and operates as much internationally as locally in territories which previously thought they were not at risk.” Because of the impact it has
on the local economy and communities, it is legitimate that local and regional governments take part in efforts to tackle this multifaceted form of crime. “Local authorities should be encouraged to combine social, economic and repressive measures to fight against organised crime. They must use all the measures available to them, in addition to the penal law,” says the Manifesto.
Furthermore, “as guarantors of a culture of legality”, local and regional authorities have a legitimate mandate to seek to “involve citizens […] by opening a debate on norms and their respect.”
> Rotterdam and Amsterdam at the forefront
During the 2017 SDC conference, Rotterdam, which as a major international port is particularly affected by this type of crime, called for more international work on this issue through Efus’ network. The following year, in 2018, Amsterdam hosted a three-day conference titled “Flying Money” on the illicit flows of money invested in the city (real estate, hospitality sector and other businesses), notably through digital money, blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Efus was represented at this conference by the Government of Catalonia (ES), the cities of Rotterdam (NL) and Malmö (SE) and the Emilia Romagna Region (IT).
> Developing innovative approaches
The objectives of the new working group will be to develop innovative approaches to organised crime, notably by establishing partnerships with the private sector, civil society organisations and researchers; to modernise local/regional policy-making in this area; to curb the local impact of illicit money flows; to push for better European-wide policies; to develop local assessment and monitoring tools, and to foster the exchange of knowledge and practices amongst European cities.
In the short term, the working group will benchmark good practices already in place among its members; seek to create a permanent dialogue on this issue with the European institutions (European Commission, Directorate General Migrations and Home Affairs, European Parliament), and monitor the EU’s calls for projects related to this topic.
> Next meetings in Riga (March) and Nice (November)
The working group on organised crime has two meetings scheduled in 2020: the first will be held on the occasion of Efus’ General Assembly, on 25-27 March in Riga (LV), and the second on the occasion of the “Security, Democracy and Cities” 2020 international conference on 25-27 November, in Nice (FR).
For more information or if you want to join this group, you may contact Tatiana Morales – firstname.lastname@example.org