The Council today adopted conclusions setting the 2022-2025 EU priorities for the fight against serious and organised crime through the European multi-disciplinary platform against criminal threats (EMPACT). Within the EMPACT framework, EU member states, agencies and other actors will work closely together to address these key criminal threats, using tools such as law enforcement training and joint operational actions to dismantle criminal networks, their structures and business models.
On the basis of the 2021 EU serious and organised crime threat assessment, presented by Europol, member states have identified 10 crime priorities:
- High-risk criminal networks
To identify and disrupt high risk criminal networks active in the EU, with special emphasis on those using corruption, acts of violence, firearms and money laundering through parallel underground financial systems.
To target criminal offenders orchestrating cyber-attacks, particularly those offering specialised criminal services online.
- Trafficking in human beings
To disrupt criminal networks engaged in trafficking in human beings, with special focus on those who exploit minors, those who use or threaten with violence against victims and their families and those who recruit and advertise victims online.
- Child sexual exploitation
To combat child abuse online and offline, including the production and dissemination of child abuse material as well as online child sexual exploitation.
- Migrant smuggling
To fight against criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling, in particular those providing facilitation services along the main migratory routes.
- Drugs trafficking
To identify and target the criminal networks involved in drug trafficking, including trafficking and distribution of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances.
- Fraud, economic and financial crimes
To target criminals orchestrating fraud, economic and financial crimes, including online fraud schemes, excise fraud, missing trader intra community fraud (MTIC fraud), intellectual property crime, counterfeiting of goods and currencies, criminal finances and money laundering.
- Organised property crime
To disrupt criminal networks involved in organised property crime, with particular focus on organised burglaries, theft and robberies, motor vehicle crime and illegal trade in cultural goods.
- Environmental crime
To combat criminal networks involved in all forms of environmental crime and in particular those with a capability to infiltrate legal business structures or set up own companies to facilitate their crimes.
- Firearms trafficking
To target criminals involved in the illicit trafficking, distribution and use of firearms.
In addition to these priorities, the production and provision of fraudulent and false documents will be addressed as a common horizontal strategic goal, since it is a key enabler for many crimes.
EMPACT is a multidisciplinary, intelligence-led and evidence-based EU initiative which aims to tackle the main crime threats that the EU is facing. It is driven by the member states and involves many bodies which work hand in hand, including law enforcement agencies, EU institutions and agencies, public and private organisations and relevant non-EU countries and organisations. It includes both preventive and repressive measures as well as operational and strategic actions.
This initiative was first implemented between 2012-2013, followed by two fully-fledged 4 year cycles between 2014-2017 and 2018-2021. In March 2021, the Council adopted conclusions on the permanent continuation of EMPACT as a key instrument for operational cooperation to fight organised and serious international crime.
EMPACT will continue to follow four-year cycles which start with the assessment of criminal threats and the adoption of the EU crime priorities. For each of these priorities annual operational action plans are then developed, implemented and monitored. At the end of the 4 year cycle an independent evaluation is carried out to assess its implementation and outcome and to feed into the next cycle.