Oldrich Martinu, Deputy Director of Europol, David Ellero, Project Manager of Europol’s Organised Crime Cluster, and Werner Gowitzke, Seconded National Expert on Environmental Crime, attended an international conference in Milan last week, to help raise awareness on the international dimension of environmental crime and its impact on food safety and public health.
The high level event was opened by General Tullio Del Sette, Commander in Chief of the Carabinieri Corps, and was attended by other senior Italian keynote speakers, as well as the Chairman of the EnviCrimeNet steering group, Mr Roel Willekens.
Participants highlighted the roles their respective agencies play in fighting this type of serious crime, and presented details on successful operations recently carried out.
The Commander in Chief of the Carabinieri specifically mentioned the 2014 joint police operation led by Italy and supported by Europol, which led to the seizure of 11 tonnes of illicit waste, and saw wide-scale coordinated interventions from over 2500 law enforcement officers operating in 13 EU Member States.
Europol representatives at the conference underlined the role of Europol in the fight against serious and organised crime and in the EU Policy Cycle which sits at the centre of the EU security architecture, with environmental crime being one of the possible upcoming priorities.
Based on the joint Europol/EnviCrimeNet intelligence report on environmental crime as a new emerging threat, the Council of the EU and the European Commission triggered debates at operational and strategic levels (such as the Law Enforcement Working Party and Standing Committee on Internal Security) on the response necessary to tackle the phenomenon.
Environmental crime is a relatively new, complex and multifaceted typology of crime. The negative impact of this criminal area has been outlined by Europol and the European Commission, who have highlighted its effects not only on environment but also on economies and growth.