Tag Archives: Asia

EU-Central Asia meeting

Brussels 22.10.2021 “Resilience, prosperity & supporting regional cooperation – these are the priorities set out in the EU-Central Asia Strategy, which remain today more relevant than ever to guide our regional engagement for post-pandemic recovery. Good to jointly discuss their implementation today” wrote on his Twitter micro blog the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell. (Image: Dushanbe, Parliament)

Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov will attend the 17th EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting on November 22 in Dushanbe, the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan said.

The current cooperation between the European Union and the Central Asian countries and its prospects, progress of implementation of the EU strategy for Central Asia will be discussed.

The Ministerial Meeting will consider prospects of cooperation and ways to enhance effectiveness of regional cooperation, international and regional policy issues.

XV EU-India Summit

“…Our meeting clearly shows the importance that both the EU and India attach to our relationship. As the world’s two largest democracies, we share common values – freedom, rule of law, and respect for human rights. We have converging interests” said in his concluding remarks by President Charles Michel after the EU-India summit via video conference.

Today we focused on 3 important topics: Covid-19 and rebuilding our economic prosperity, our EU-India bilateral relationship and regional and security issues”  Michel continued.

“As power dynamics shift across the globe, the EU wants to play a stronger role in the region, and as a global actor. Today’s substantive dialogue with India will reinforce these strategic goals.

The EU and India are banding together to fight COVID-19 and I welcome India’s role in tackling the virus, both at the regional and global level. And their contribution to the research and manufacturing of a vaccine, which should be available to all. We will cooperate to strengthen our health systems and ensure the WHO is effective.

We agree that the economic and social recovery must be more sustainable, more resilient and leave nobody behind. Keeping the global trading system open will play an important role. Efforts in the G20 and UN will also be vital. We welcome India’s support for debt relief as well”.

Today’s meeting marked the 15th Summit between India and the European Union.

“The EU is India’s largest trade and investment partner. But India represents only about 2% of EU external trade. This is clearly an area that offers impressive potential for significant future growth. We agreed to enhance conditions for traders and investors.

We called for ambitious climate and environmental action. The EU is a partner of India’s sustainable modernisation, including through investments by the European Investment Bank, over 4 billion euros. We will also work together to deploy digital technologies based on our shared values and global standards.

We have just signed the Euratom-India Agreement that boosts cooperation on research and development for peaceful nuclear energy. We welcome India’s proposal to build a connectivity partnership that is open, sustainable and rules-based.

The EU and India will further develop security and defence consultations and military contact. We will step up our cooperation to fight terrorism and cyber threats. Europol and its Indian counterpart will join forces to tackle organised crime. We will also work to reinforce maritime security, especially in the Indian Ocean, where 40% of our trade passes. And we will continue our dialogue on human rights.

India will serve on the UN Security Council in 2021-2022 and assume the Presidency of the G20 in 2022. The EU looks forward to working with India in these organisations, and others, to strengthen multilateralism and the rules-based international order. The EU and India are more than economic partners – we are political partners, committed to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, security and rule of law.

Today’s meeting clearly showed that both the EU and India want a stronger strategic relationship for the future. The concrete commitments we made today reflect this strong and clear ambition. India can count on the European Union. And we count on India to be a key partner”.

 

COVID19: EU citizens food safety concerns at rise

BRUSSELS, 15 April 2020 – “In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we call on EU leaders to urgently steer the EU towards sustainable and resilient food systems. We were one of 40 environmental, health and animal welfare NGOs to send the EU Commission an open letter, urging it to act without any further delays in overhauling its food and farming system. Now more than ever, the EU needs to mitigate the risk of new pandemics and to encourage healthier diets.

“Covid-19 has strikingly brought to light some of the dysfunctions of our current globalised and unsustainable food systems, including the link between the increased emergence of zoonoses and intensive animal farming and the lack of regard for other species which has consequences worldwide.

“Now more than ever, the EU needs to create resilient food systems and diminish the risk of new pandemics.

“The loss of habitat and the exploitation of wildlife through hunting and trade lie at the heart of this latest pandemic. Protecting the environment, restoring biodiversity and making significant reductions in the production and consumption of animal products are urgently needed to bring a true shift towards sustainable food production and humane farming systems. Intensive animal farming, high stocking densities and confining animals in small cages put us all at great risk for the spread of disease. Our societies simply cannot afford another pandemic. We must put an end to intensive farming, now.

“The Farm to Fork Strategy is the way to do it!” Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming.

“During these times of crisis, it has become crystal clear that our diets are particularly inept to deal with major health threats. Diets heavily reliant on animal products are linked to serious health issues. Intensive animal farming is linked to the emergence of superbugs and the development of anti-microbial resistance leading to the inability of our medicines to deal with them efficiently. Let’s mend this broken system. Let’s bring forward a food and farming revolution via the Farm to Fork Strategy. Let’s promote healthier, plant-rich foods!” Kikou added.

Lavrov for 'true union' against ISIS

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“Unprecedented terrorist aggression has been seen in Europe, the United States, and the countries that are our allies under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation in Asia – all this presents a serious threat to international security”, said Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov addressing MunichSecurity conference. (The full text of the speech here: http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2086892)

Russian minister expressed concern over the overall degradation of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa after ‘Arab Spring’, and migrant crisis in Europe, pointing at  the threat of terrorism to expand in Middle East, North Africa.

Lavrov claimed a  “certain success” in the fight against ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and the other terroristic groups, however he underlined that the international community has failed so far to create a “truly efficient anti-terrorist front”, blaming  “inability” to put aside nonentity matters, and curb geopolitical ambitions.

Lavrov called for a “true union” of the leading nations against international terrorism,  and also to prevent the collapse of Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan, infiltrated by ISIS, using the lack of unified strategy to their advantage.

 

Europol tracks wildlife crime

 

Europol Director Rob Wainwright met with Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC, at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague today to discuss further cooperation in fighting environmental crime, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties in 2016.

The scope of the MoU is to facilitate the exchange of information and support, as well as to improve coordination between the two organisations to fight environmental crime, particularly the illegal trafficking of endangered animal and plant species.

“Europol is pleased to extend its partnerships in this area as a means by which to help protect the environment and our economies. Countering environmental crime also supports broader efforts to combat other crimes such as corruption, money laundering, counterfeiting, fraud, forgery, and sometimes even terrorism or drugs trafficking,” – Europol Director Rob Wainwright highlighted.

“Wildlife trafficking is a global issue that must be addressed through international collaborations: TRAFFIC looks forward to supporting Europol to fulfil its challenging role in addressing wildlife crime through providing strategic assessments and operational support to EU Member States”,- said Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC.

Environmental crimes represent a highly lucrative business, especially for organised crime groups, as these offences are harder to detect and sanctions are lower in comparison with other crime areas. The transnational nature of environmental crimes has led to the need for enhanced cooperation between law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organisations, making strategic agreements crucial in the fight against the trafficking of endangered animal and plant species.

In addition, the EU is a key transit point for illegal trade in wildlife, notably between Africa and Asia. Given TRAFFIC’s presence on five continents, the MoU enables Europol to reinforce its position in dealing with this emerging threat.

This initiative is also in line with the EU Action Plan aimed at combating wildefaire trafficing  in which Europol plays an important part.

Europol: Cybercriminals arrests

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EUROPOL, DEPECHE: Members of an international cybercrime syndicate  active in Europe and Asia apprehended  five members of an international organised criminal group  (OCG) have been arrested and three of them convicted so far as a result of a complex operation led by law enforcement agencies from Europe and Asia, with the active support of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).
“The majority of cybercrimes have an international dimension, taking into account the origins of suspects and places where crimes are committed. Only through a coordinated approach at the global level between law enforcement agencies can we successfully track down the criminal networks behind such large-scale frauds and bring them to justice,” –  said Steven WILSON, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre.
This organised crime group is responsible for carrying out highly-sophisticated attacks against banks’ ATMs which were made to dispense all the money deposited inside.The modus operandi employed was very complex and involved:spear-phishing emails with attachments containing malicious programmes; penetration of the banks’ internal networks; compromising and controlling the network of ATMs; special computer programmes which deleted most of the traces of the criminal activity.

One arrest has been made by the Romanian National Police, three arrests by the Taiwanese Criminal Investigation Bureau and one arrest by the Belarusian Central Central Office of the Investigative Committee.

In some cases, after the cashing-out, the stolen money was partially recovered from the criminals.

The investigation was initiated at the beginning of 2016.The members of the OCG were recruited online, most of them with multiple citizenships which allowed them to easily travel and commit crimes all over the world.

Losses caused to the banks are estimated at around three million euro (EUR 3 million).

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) assisted the investigation by providing analytical support, organising operational meetings in Europe and Asia as well as analysing the seized data/ equipment.

 

Europol: diamonds forever!

 

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Hosted at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague, the event brought together more than 70 experts from almost all EU Member States, as well as third parties from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Eurojust and private jewellery/watch companies.

‘Diamond’ was initially composed as a follow-up project to Interpol’s ‘Pink Panther’ project, which ended in 2016. The ‘Pink Panther’ project focussed only on robberies committed by perpetrators from the Western Balkans. Diamond, however, will even extend its focus, which will not only include criminal networks involved in jewellery robberies, including burglaries, from Europe but also from the Baltic Sea and Western Black Sea areas.

Europol’s Head of Serious and Organised Crime, Michael Rauschenbach, highlighted: “Criminals are becoming more inventive, as well as using technology to their advantage to carry out the most daring robberies and burglaries, as we have seen in the case of the ‘Pink Panther thieves’. Europol is committed to staying one step ahead of them by capitalising on our resources to ensure that their deeds do not go unpunished. Our success also depends on inter-agency cooperation and we are pleased that we could bring together so many experts from Europe and beyond to serve one common purpose – making Europe a safer place for the benefit of our citizens.”

Currently, the EU is facing a returning trend in jewellery robbery and burglary. Individuals from South America, in particular, have been travelling to Europe to rob jewellery stores. The new trend in this area is that criminals are becoming more violent and using heavy vehicles to drive into jewellery stores. This modus operandi is of great concern for Europol, as it could endanger the life of customers and staff members present in the stores.

Therefore, one of the objectives of the conference was to expand the existing network of experts created by the ‘Pink Panther’ Project. In addition, conference participants exchanged views on the necessary tools required to fight jewellery robbery and burglary.

Europol already holds a series of state-of-the-art information gathering and exchange tools that can be used to fight the criminal rings involved.

To this end, Europol intends to establish an early warning system, as well as a single point of information gathering dedicated to tracking stolen watches and jewellery. In addition, Europol plans to increase the number of strategic analysis and situational reports it produces, and expects to further implement operational data systems in this particular area. Another development relates to the fact that there will be closer cooperation with the private sector to tackle this criminal activity.

 

Project ‘Pink Panther’ was initiated by Interpol in 2007 to help law enforcement across the globe apprehend members of the Pink Panthers international network of jewellery thieves, originating from the Western Balkans. Between 1999 and 2015 the criminals are thought to have carried out approximately 380 armed robberies, valued at EUR 334 million, targeting high-end jewellery stores. The project facilitated information gathering, exchange and analysis, and founded a network of investigators, all of which proved to be crucial in identifying this highly-skilled criminal network.