Representatives from 22 WCO Members of the European Region, RILOs and OLAF met at the 21st Meeting of the WCO European Region Heads of Customs Investigations and Intelligence Services in Sochi, Russian Federation on 25-26 November 2015. This was immediately followed by the 12th Meeting of the Heads of Law Enforcement Units of the Council of Heads of National Customs Authorities of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The meeting was attended by the Heads and Experts of Customs Investigations and Intelligence Services from Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Hungary, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, RILO-Warsaw, RILO-Koln, OLAF, CIS Anti-Terrorism Center and the Coordination Service of CIS Council of Commanders of Border Troops.
Participants actively discussed ways of strengthening coordination of Member and International Organization activities and goals in countering Customs offences and transnational organized crime and exchanged views and proposals to develop international cooperation further, including coordination and cooperation between CIS and Eurasian Economic Union States.
During the meeting presentations were made and discussions held on various areas of enforcement activities in countering threats and challenges, including Customs criminal and administrative offences, smuggling of drugs, psychoactive substances and their precursors, illegal trafficking of high value commodities, bulk cash, cultural values, CITES, tobacco products, and issue of internet trade.
Member legislative changes were also discussed during the meeting.
Members condemned the recent terror acts in Europe and other regions, and discussed the special role that Customs have based on their responsibilities in fighting international terrorism.
The participants of the meeting strongly supported the efforts of their administrations in countering Customs offences and international terrorism.
Members provided updates on ongoing activities, programmes, operations, implementation of tools in the field of investigations, intelligence and Customs controls
Members acknowledged the various efforts presented by the European RILOs and strongly supported the idea of setting up a working group "Legal basis for information exchange" in the near future in cooperation with the Vice-Chair of the Region.
The WCO shared information on recent developments and updated Members on WCO enforcement instruments.
Members expressed their confidence in strengthening the regional and intra-regional enforcement cooperation.