Europol has hosted a European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) meeting to focus on intelligence and operational actions linked to threats of serious and organized crime, which have emerged as a result of the war in Ukraine. This meeting follows the mobilization of the EMPACT framework by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission to address these threats. EU Ministers of the Interior endorsed this initiative at the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on March 28, 2022, as set out in the 10-Point Plan for stronger European coordination on welcoming people fleeing the war against Ukraine. Immediately afterwards, Europol, together with the French Presidency, started organizing the EMPACT meeting at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague to discuss coordinated operational actions.
During the EMPACT meeting at Europol, which was held on April 7, representatives of the EU Member States, including the drivers of the operational action plans for 15 crime areas, discussed concrete steps to address the development of serious and organized crime threats linked to the war in Ukraine. This includes the gathering of more intelligence, the implementation of emergency operational actions based on EMPACT flexibility and adaptation culture, the possibility of setting up ad hoc joint action days and the potential allocation of additional grants to fund operational activities targeting these crimes.
Initial intelligence analysis of these criminal threats identified crime patterns in a number of areas including human trafficking, online fraud, cybercrime and firearms trafficking. The evolution of the situation in Ukraine may potentially lead to an increase of criminal activities in all 10 EMPACT priority crime areas. Therefore, it is necessary to mobilize resources and increase the preparedness of the EMPACT community in order to respond in a swift and coordinated manner to these evolving threats.
EU Member States and operational partners are actively sharing all available information and criminal intelligence with Europol, which cross-checks and analyses the information and turns it into actionable operational intelligence notifications, such as early warning notifications and threat assessments, which is shared with all partners.
The operational cooperation approach of the EMPACT framework gathers different national authorities together, including police, gendarmerie, customs and border guards, as well as judicial authorities. Non-EU countries, international organizations, and other public and private partners may also be associated. This multidisciplinary approach, which includes both intelligence analysis and operational actions, plays a central role in the joint EU response to the prevention, detection and tackling of serious and organized crime affecting the European Union and its citizens.