The 6th EnviCrimeNet Annual General Meeting (ECN-AGM), hosted by the Police Force of the Slovak Republic, was held on 3rd and 4th November in Bratislava. Experts and practitioners from 20 European countries, Europol, Interpol, the European Commission and the World Customs Organization met to discuss best practices, latest developments and challenges posed by environmental crime. One of the main topics was the ‘Slovak Initiative’ and its implementation in form of an EU Action Plan to combat environmental crime. The initiative received support from the EnviCrimeNet members.
Action plan to combat environmental crime
One of the priorities of the Slovak Presidency in the field of Justice and Home Affairs is the fight against environmental crime. The Presidency therefore prepared an initiative on countering environmental crime, which was discussed at the Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) on 29th September 2016 and also at the ECN-AGM on 3rd and 4th November 2016. The Presidency prepared draft council conclusions on countering environmental crime, which will be followed up by an Action Plan. At the ECN- AGM it was suggested that the ECN should help with the implementation of the Action Plan.
The two-day AGM served as a platform to discuss national and international cooperation of law enforcement and other agencies involved in combating environmental crime. Particular attention was given to illegal waste trafficking through organised crime groups (OCGs) and other illegal actions in relation to waste as a form of organised corporate crime. Also covered were wildlife-related crimes (with a particular focus on birds), criminal behavior in relation to safety and industrial plants, and illegal logging.
Collaboration with other networks
During the meeting the close cooperation of the ECN with three other important networks was highlighted, namely, The European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL), The European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE) and The European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment (EUFJE).
Other outcomes from the meeting were that Mr. Roel Willekens from the Dutch Police will chair the network for another year. In preparation of its Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2017, Malta joined the ECN Steering Group.
Source: EnviCrimeNet website