European Ports Alliance
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- The EU inaugurates the "European Ports Alliance" to harmonize anti-drug smuggling methods.
- Launch event held at Belgium’s Antwerp port, a major gateway for cocaine into Europe.
Attendees and Objectives:
- Attended by EU interior ministers and representatives from 16 bloc ports and sea transport organizations.
- Aims to combat criminal groups infiltrating European ports and smuggling activities.
Security Challenges in Major Ports:
- Europe's major ports, including Antwerp, face violence from local mafias involved in illegal drug trade.
- Criminal groups resort to tactics like bribery and coercion of port officials, workers, and law enforcement.
Rise in Cocaine Seizures:
- Antwerp, a significant port, witnesses a surge in annual cocaine seizures, reaching 116 tonnes in 2023.
- Despite increased seizures, the street price of cocaine is decreasing, indicating a significant presence in the market.
Adaptability of Criminal Groups:
- Security crackdown in the Dutch port of Rotterdam prompts criminal groups to shift activities to smaller ports.
- Smugglers quickly adapt, and indications suggest increased drug flows to ports like Helsingborg in Sweden.
Need for Cooperation:
- Nearly 70% of drug seizures in the European Union occur in bloc ports.
- Emphasizes the need for enhanced cooperation not only between law enforcement but also with private operators in ports.
Ports Alliance Goals:
- Aims to improve information sharing, implement successful models, and map drug flows.
- Focuses on dismantling criminal gangs involved in drug smuggling.
Concerns about Synthetic Drugs:
- Rising concern about synthetic drugs like ecstasy, amphetamines, and MDMA giving rise to new European crime networks.
- The French Interior Minister emphasizes the need for a joint strategy to prevent fentanyl-related problems in Europe.
- While fentanyl use is currently low in Europe, concerns exist about its potential increase.
- Highlighted efforts to dismantle synthetic drug laboratories within the EU.
- The European Ports Alliance addresses the pressing issue of drug smuggling by fostering collaboration, sharing information, and targeting criminal networks.
- Acknowledges the evolving nature of criminal activities, necessitating adaptability in security measures.
Q. Antwerp, a port frequently mentioned in recent news, is located in which European country?
Correct Answer: B) Belgium