Council Sets EU’s Priorities for the Fight against Organised Crime (EMPACT 2022-2025)
On 26 May 2021, based on the Europol report “SOCTA 2021” (→ related link), the Council adopted conclusions setting EU priorities for the period 2022-2025 to fight serious and organised crime. The conclusions fix clear goals that should be achieved within the framework of EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats). Combating the following ten forms of crime is considered a priority during the next policy cycle (2022-2025):
- High-risk criminal networks (with a particular focus on those using corruption, acts of violence, firearms and money laundering through parallel underground financial systems);
- Cyber-attacks (particularly targeting offenders who offer specialised criminal services online);
- Trafficking in human beings (with special focus on criminal networks which exploit minors, use or threaten with violence against victims and their families, and recruit and advertise victims online);
- Sexual exploitation of children;
- Smuggling of migrants (in particular as regards networks which provide facilitation services);
- Drugs trafficking;
- Fraud, economic and financial crimes (which will include the fight against online fraud schemes, excise fraud, missing trader intra community fraud (MTIC fraud), intellectual property crime, counterfeiting of goods and currencies, criminal finances and money laundering)
- Organised property crime (with a particular focus on organised burglaries, thefts and robberies, vehicle crime and illegal trade in cultural goods);
- Environmental crime (targeted here are organised crime groups with capability to infiltrate legal business structures or set up own companies to facilitate their crimes);
- Trafficking in firearms.
In addition to these priorities, the production and provision of fraudulent and false documents will be addressed as a common horizontal strategic objective.
The Council stresses the importance of the combined efforts from Member States, EU institutions, bodies and agencies, expert groups, and other stakeholders for the efficient and effective implementation of the EU’s crime priorities. EMPACT is an ad hoc management environment to develop activities in order to achieve pre-set goals. The platform enlists the support of several EU Member States, EU institutions and agencies as well as third countries, international organisations, and other public and private partners aiming to address the main threats of organised and serious international crime. EMPACT includes both preventive and repressive measures as well as operational and strategic actions. EMPACT follows four-year cycles. The last one was adopted in 2018. In March 2021, the Council decided to continue EMPACT as a permanent instrument for cooperation to fight organised and serious international crime.