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Renewed action plan between the WCO and Europol

04 octubre 2019

At the invitation of Europol, the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, participated in the European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC), jointly organized with Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 3 and 4 October 2019. The EPCC focused on topics relating to European police cooperation.

The EPCC began with a meeting of Customs Directors General during which mechanisms for enhanced coordination between Customs authorities and police were discussed. The Convention continued with a joint meeting between Police Chiefs and Customs Directors General. The meeting’s opening address was delivered by Ms. Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director of Europol, who highlighted the effective cooperation between both organizations, the WCO and Europol.

During his speech, the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Treviño Chapa, expressed his gratitude to Europol for its commitment to develop a new joint action plan. The need for Customs, as the first line of defence, to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies has been pressing for some time now, and an MoU has been in place between both organizations since 2002. Although some improvements have resulted from constant cooperation on the ground, it is time to forge ahead with further practical measures.

The Deputy Secretary General explained that the actions outlined in the new plan will include: (i) a commitment to exchange information through operational platforms; (ii) the intention to carry out joint capacity building initiatives and organize joint operations; and (iii) the possibility for the WCO to contribute to Europol’s strategy definition process. This all comes as part of a newly identified need to implement operational and concrete actions in an effort to improve existing cooperation instruments.

The meetings were co-chaired by Mr. Wil van Gemert, Deputy Executive Director, Operations Department, Europol, and Mr. Hannu Makinen, Director General of Finland Customs, as well as by Mr. Seppo Kolehmainen, National Police Commissioner of Finland.