02 Jul 2024 | Brussels

Conservative local leaders commit to unite in the fight against drug trafficking and criminality

02 Jul 2024 | Brussels

Conservative local leaders commit to unite in the fight against drug trafficking and criminality

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) today held an event bringing together local and regional leaders and experts to discuss how regions and cities can unite in the fight against drug trafficking to make local communities safe and secure. Panellists discussed the very serious safety and security threats facing the EU today including organised crime, illicit trafficking and radicalisation.

As part of the opening remarks, President of the ECR Group and President of the Abruzzo region in Italy, Marco Marsilio, highlighted that as conservative politicians, there is a strong sense of duty to defend law and order pragmatically: "I am convinced that conservatives should lead the fight against organised crime: we must call for better and more effective legislative measures to strengthen law enforcement capacities, and we must work to strengthen international and inter-institutional cooperation in this field".

In the first panel, politicians and experts assessed the broader aspect of making communities safe and secure going beyond the huge challenge of fighting drug trafficking, gang violence and organised crime to the more global threat of radicalisation. Speakers made links between the EU's flawed migration system and keeping the continent of Europe safe from the threat of violence and terrorism.

For the ECR First Vice-President Władysław Ortyl, the role of the family, "the smallest social institution", is crucial when it comes to safeguarding peaceful and secure communities and preventing the occurrence of crime: "We need to invest in family friendly policies so that they are better equipped to engage with our youth and teach them what is right from wrong".  

ECR Vice-President Anna Magyar focused on the importance of borders in the context of keeping citizens safe and secure highlighting that European citizens' security begins at the borders: "Local and regional efforts in this regard are crucial for Member States' national security, and the EU's overall security. And I am confident that we deserve proper financial support for our efforts in safeguarding the gateways to Europe".  

The President of the Bratislava region and ECR Vice-President Juraj Droba stated that as political leaders, there is responsibility for ensuring the complex and harmonious development of our territories: "safety is without a doubt one of the basic human needs, and it is a critical factor in how our citizens assess the quality of their lives".

The second panel was devoted to the issue of fighting drug trafficking in the context of the CoR's opinion (rapporteur: Matteo Bianchi) on the EU Roadmap to fight drug trafficking and organised crime. Speakers reiterated the importance of prioritising actions in the area, including on prevention by tackling the root causes of organised crime and taking action against criminal activities as a permanent solution. 

ECR member and rapporteur, Matteo Bianchi, highlighted the necessity of joining forces to fight against organised crime and drug trafficking: "International cooperation with countries where the production of illicit substances takes place and with those that are crossed by the main routes of drug trafficking is essential to counter a phenomenon that has no borders".

Speakers included Katja Nyberg MP, Committee on Justice, Swedish Parliament, Gabor Bota, Head of sector, European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), Angela De Santis, First Executive Officer of the State Police, Anti-Crime Division, Varese Police, Italy and Edoardo Boggio Marzet, Europol Liaison Officer.