The European Commission has adopted an EU Roadmap to step up the fight against drug trafficking and criminal networks.

The drugs trade is one of the most significant security threats faced by the EU today.

Seizures of cocaine in the EU are hitting record levels, with 303 tonnes seized in 2021 alone.

The Roadmap sets out concrete and targeted actions to close the emerging gaps.

Specifically, the EU has set out a new European Ports Alliance to increase the resilience of ports against criminal infiltration by reinforcing the work of customs authorities, law enforcement, public and private actors in the ports across the EU. For example, through state-of-the-art scanning and equipment.

The Commission also sets out new priority measures to fight organised crime and drug-trafficking, which include:

· Dismantling high-risk criminal networks through facilitating financial and digital investigations, mapping the biggest criminal networks, reinforcing cooperation between specialised prosecutors and judges, and making use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) alerts.

· Measures to prevent organised crime through exchange of best practices and guidance among Member States to prevent infiltration of these groups in the society and legal economy, prevent criminal groups to recruit youngsters and improve public safety and health, and to limit more effectively access to drug precursors.

· Working with international partners to confront the global threat, including through reinforcing information exchange, joint operations on the main drug trafficking routes, and strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation with non-EU countries.

Margaritis Schinas, vice-president for promoting our European way of life, said: “Europe has now replaced the U.S. as the single largest cocaine market in the world and is fast becoming a world hub for drug trafficking – a disturbing claim to fame and one we have to redouble efforts to reverse. Today we are announcing a new series of measures to enhance the resilience of logistical hubs and dismantle criminal networks. This will be complemented by strong engagement with partners worldwide to crack down on the main supply routes – starting with our Latin American partners whom I will visit at the end of the month.”