Switzerland participates in an informal "Partnership against Organised Crime in Southeastern Europe"

Press Release, FDJP, 25.11.2002

Berne, 25th November 2002. Criminal organisations from southeastern Europe pose a threat to the inner security of European countries. The problem can only be tackled effectively if the countries concerned work closer together. At a Ministerial Conference in London, which was organised on the initiative of Great Great Britain, Switzerland has pledged its support for a new informal "Partnership against Organised Crime in Southeastern Europe".

Criminal organisations have no respect for national borders. That is why organised crime usually takes on an international dimension. Human trafficking, drug trafficking, the illegal arms trade and corruption to some extent or the other affect all European countries. These forms of organised crime can only be effectively combated if the security authorities of the various countries work closely together by exchanging specific information on criminal organisations.

This is the conclusion which was reached at a Ministerial Conference on Organised Crime in Southeastern Europe which was organised by the British Government and took place in London on 25 November 2002. Apart from the Ministers of Justice and the Interior from numerous EU countries, around 300 representatives from the EU states as well as from countries applying for admission into the EU and other European nations took part in the conference. Representatives of the G8 nations, the European Commission as well as several international organisations were also present.

Joint declaration

Based on the outcome of the first round of talks, the existing initiatives on the prevention or combat of organised crime in southeastern Europe were evaluated and possibilities for synergy and improvement were outlined.

The results of the discussions were set down in a joint declaration known as the "London Statement".

Switzerland also affected by organised crime

Criminal organisations from southeastern Europe and particularly from the Balkans also pose a potential threat to the inner security of Switzerland. It is a threat that is to be taken seriously. In the past, it has been possible to identify certain activities carried out by members of criminal organisations that have been aimed at taking advantage of Switzerland as an economic and financial centre. Switzerland, therefore, has a significant interest during the course of the conference in exchanging information as well as discussing new strategies to combat organised crime.

Jean-Luc Vez, Director of the Federal Office of Police, headed the Swiss delegation.

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