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Organized Crime and Police Cooperation in the European Union: Lessons Learned, an Interview with Professor Cyrille Fijnaut

NCJ Number
Trends in Organized Crime Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Dated: Summer 2002 Pages: 55-72
Marcel-Eugene LeBeuf
Date Published
18 pages
In this transcript of an interview with Professor Cyrille Fijnaut, one of the leading researchers on the policing of organized crime in Europe, attention is given to the nature of organized crime and how police can address it effectively.
The first issue addressed is border control for the member countries of the European Union. Fijnaut notes that member states retain national mechanisms for border control, but under Union agreements police and government cooperation in the development of border-control policies and mechanisms has been enhanced. Europol as been established as a network for cooperation, primarily in the exchange and analysis of information. Police from the various member states may cooperate on task forces that deal with transnational organized crime, but they cannot exercise police powers outside of their national jurisdiction. The network of transnational task forces is crucial to harmonizing policies and tactics adopted by individual member states. Regional teams meet regularly to discuss common crime issues and how to address them. Fijnaut indicates that throughout Western Europe organized crime groups are cooperating and integrating their operations across national boundaries. In the process, organized crime groups are becoming more flexible and less hierarchically structured. Fijnaut notes how the proceeds of organized crime and their investment affect the economies of both source and destination countries negatively and positively. This pervasive influence of organized crime requires that it be viewed as a multifaceted problem that involves the cooperation of multiple public and private agencies, not just the police.