The Life Satec project actively participated in an environmental seminar held on November 7-8, coinciding with the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council. The event was hosted by Seprona.
The seminar conducted a comprehensive analysis and advocated for the priorities outlined by the European Commission in the European Union Strategy Against Organized Crime 2021-2025, specifically focusing on environmental concerns. The Seminar counted with the participation in the closing ceremony of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, reinforcing the priority of the fight against environmental crime in the policies promoted by this presidency.
The seminar has sought to successfully gather all national or international actors who, in some way, are related to the European Union Strategy against organized crime in the environmental field. It featured experts in European projects who emphasized the importance of commission funding in support of initiatives promoted by various sectors, whether they are Member States or international networks such as the LIFE SATEC project, and how it has benefited the strengthening of the ENVICRIMENET network.
The seminar featured European networks, represented by ENVICRIMENET, EUFJE, and IMPEL. Awareness was raised regarding their significance as strategic advisors for legislative modifications in the environmental domain from a multilateral perspective. All networks concurred on the importance of establishing or reinforcing inspection and investigation units responsible for law enforcement, either through proposed creation or the enhancement of existing ones. Similarly, the ambiguous definitions of certain criminal types (such as the concept of «substantial damage» highlighted by EUFJE) and the varied legislative transpositions of Directives by Member States, sometimes erroneous, are gaps to be corrected in the short term.
As the seminar kicked off, it underscored its goals—enhancing ongoing initiatives within the European Union strategy while fostering the development of new ones. The emphasis was on strengthening existing capacities, identifying new modus operandi and criminal dynamics, particularly in detecting and dismantling criminal networks related to environmental crimes, animal cruelty, and associated criminal activities. These objectives were reinforced by representatives from the European Commission and Europol, who delved into the cooperation between administrative and law enforcement authorities, emphasizing the EMPACT platform as a focal point for comprehensive environmental crime investigations.
There were two conferences outside the scope of the European Union to understand how other international agencies related to environmental crime can contribute to the objectives of the strategy to combat this type of crime. The agencies that presented were INTERPOL and UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).
The dynamism of the discussions was enhanced by roundtable sessions, engaging European agencies and networks that contribute in various ways to achieving the goals of the Strategy. OLAF, EFCA, and EUROJUST were represented among the agencies, all of whom affirmed the necessity for reinforcement.
One of the most concerning aspects of environmental crime is its increasingly close connection to criminal organizations, given its multiplying impact on the effects of the crime. The seminar also highlighted the measures taken by the European Commission to address this concern, such as the new Directive on environmental crime and the new plan against wildlife trafficking and poaching.
In conclusion, the seminar not only effectively conducted a thorough analysis but also actively advocated for the priorities set by the European Commission in the European Union Strategy Against Organized Crime 2021-2025. It proved to be a dynamic gathering where experts and organizations exchanged valuable information.