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EU and Latin American and Caribbean Partners Team Up in the Fight Against Transnational Organised Crime With the Launch of El Paccto 2.0

Today in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council (Development) meeting in Brussels, European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen, and Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Pilar Cancela – on behalf of the El PAcCTO 2.0 implementing Consortium and as representative for the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union –, signed the EL PAcCTO 2.0 Programme. Following the success of the first edition of the programme that started in 2017, this second phase will further enhance the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean’s close cooperation to jointly and effectively respond to the challenges posed by transnational organised crime. The signature was held in presence of all 5 implementing Member States and Ambassadors of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Commissioner Urpilainen said: “Fighting transnational organised crime is a global imperative. With our € 58.8 million EL PAcCTO 2.0 programme, Team Europe is joining forces with our Latin American and, for the first time, Caribbean partners to strengthen the rule of law, justice and security systems – in line with what we agreed at the EU-CELAC Summit in July. With a human-rights based approach, we are reinforcing the foundations for more resilient institutions, building on our successful cooperation on both sides of the Atlantic.”

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said: “The EU partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean is not only a geopolitical necessity, but also the occasion to improve citizens’ daily life in both regions. Organised crime is a multifaceted transnational threat to our democratic societies, thus it needs to be addressed by wide international partnerships. At the EU-CELAC Summit in July, Leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of citizen security. El PAcCTO 2.0, does exactly that: reinforce the capacity of Latin America and the Caribbean to cooperate even better with the EU in the fight against transnational organised crime.”

Secretary of State Cancela said: “EL PAcCTO has contributed to creating safer and fairer societies on both sides of the Atlantic. Together with other regional projects such as EUROCLIMA or EUROSOCIAL, EL PAcCTO demonstrates that global challenges, such as the fight against inequality and climate change or the creation of safe and fair spaces for our citizens, are a common objective and meeting the SDGs is a collective endeavour.”

EL PAcCTO 2.0’s launch today delivers on the ambition set out at the EU-CELAC Summit of July 2023 in Brussels, where the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) reinforced their joint commitment to strengthen intercontinental cooperation initiatives in the field of citizen security and social justice, by further enhancing the EU-LAC Partnership on Justice and Security. EU regional programmes such as EL PAcCTO on organised crime, COPOLAD on drug policies, and Eurofront on border management – have effectively bolstered the security and justice cooperation with the LAC region, at technical and political levels. EL PAcCTO 2.0 is a true Team Europe endeavour; the programme will be implemented by Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands, with their relevant ministries and development agencies participating.

In line with this renewed framework, the overall objective of EL PAcCTO 2.0 is to establish an effective partnership between the EU and LAC regions to strengthen the rule of law and the fight against organised crime. This will promote more security and stability for our citizens in both regions. The programme will be supported with a total amount of €58.8 million from the EU budget.

The programme aims to bring the cooperation between EU, Latin American and Caribbean criminal justice stakeholders to a higher level when investigating and prosecuting organised crime, through three main outputs:

  1. Strengthening Latin American and Caribbean criminal justice institutions and increasing opportunities for strategic dialogue on justice and security
  2. Strengthening the technical and methodological capacity of criminal justice institutions (police, judiciary and penitentiary systems) in Latin America and the Caribbean improved legislation and policies, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations; with the close involvement of civil society
  3. Supporting the operational capacity of criminal justice actors to prosecute organised crime in the main criminal markets: trafficking in drugs, human beings, firearms and cultural goods, as well as cyber and environmental crimes

Background on EL PAcCTO (2017-2022)

The first phase of EL PAcCTO was configured as an ambitious regional and trans-regional cooperation programme called to make a difference in the political, institutional, technical and operational fields, to the fight against organised crime along the entire criminal chain, with a comprehensive approach and perspective.

To date, the programme has:

  1. promoted the creation of and support to structures and mechanisms fostering regional and bi-regional cooperation in the field of justice and security: this is the case of the CLASI (Latin American Committee on Internal Security), AMERIPOL or the justice policy cycle
  2. encouraged countries to identify current and potential criminal threats to agree on joint priorities in the fight against organised
  3. promoted the creation of specialised police networks to fight, for example, against online sexual child abuse; cryptocurrencies and anti-money laundering actions; arms trafficking or trafficking of human beings

Source: International Patnership