The Belgian government will focus on tackling drug trafficking via major European ports.

Belgium, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU until 30 June 2024, will put a particular focus on tackling serious organised drug-related crime.

The government said special attention will be paid to the use of logistic hubs for this type of cross-border crime and, more specifically, how to combat drug trafficking via major ports.

Hilde Vandevoorde, national member for Belgium at Eurojust, said: “The Belgian Presidency has put forward different priorities that are of direct importance in the daily work of the judicial practitioners. Tackling large-scale drug-related organised crime groups using logistic hubs and, more specifically, large ports is the top priority. As this crime type always has a major cross-border aspect, the role of Eurojust is essential in helping EU Member States and third countries to cooperate.”

In its priorities for judicial cooperation during its presidency, Belgium will also underline the role of small-scale detention as an alternative to prisons.

Across Belgium, around 700 spaces will be created in small-scale detention for prisoners who have received up to three years of imprisonment as a sentence.

As far as the drug-related cross-border crime, during the Belgian presidency, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) will work with its judicial partners in third countries, from which large-scale illicit exports of drugs take place.

For this purpose, the agency can build on a network of over 70 Contact Points worldwide and its counterparts in Latin America.

These include the association of Ibero-Amerian public prosecutors and the Ibero-American network of international legal cooperation.

In view of extending cross-border judicial cooperation, the European Commission is currently negotiating international agreements with Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.