Protecting European ports from drug trafficking

Protecting European ports from drug trafficking


, Topic:

, Date:
25 April 2024

Federal Minister of the Interior Faeser meets with mayors of Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam

How can we protect our ports and combat drug trafficking across borders? This was the topic discussed by Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser and the mayors of the three port cities of Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam at their meeting at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community.

Minister Faeser and the Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Dr Peter Tschentscher, as well as his counterparts from Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, and Antwerp, Bart de Wever, and the Netherlands Minister for Migration, Eric van der Burg, representing the Netherlands government, agreed to intensify their cooperation to strengthen security.


Bundesinnenministerin Nancy Faeser

“We want to step up the fight against the international drug cartels. We need to make our sea ports secure enough that they are no longer gateways for tonnes of cocaine.”

Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser

Action against drug trafficking and organised crime

Minister Faeser identified several areas for action to combat drug trafficking: one such area, according to the Minister, is effectively fighting against corruption within the companies that operate at the ports.

The Minister also said that drug trafficking needs to be stopped at a much earlier point. “We need strong investigative pressure along the entire drug trafficking supply chain”, she said. “That is why I have agreed with South American countries to take action together against the criminals operating behind the scenes and to uncover financial structures.”

The fight against drug cartels begins in South America

Like Minister Faeser, the three mayors travelled earlier this year to South America, where they visited key countries of transit and origin for cocaine in order to see first-hand how transnational organised crime structures are being combated there and to intensify cooperation with South American partners.

In recent years, the volumes of drugs, particularly cocaine, from South America that are seized in Europe have been increasing steadily. In 2023 alone, 35 tonnes of cocaine were seized in Germany, 59.1 tonnes in the Netherlands and 116 tonnes in Belgium. The major ports in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg serve as the gateways to Europe for illegal drug imports.

During her tour of South America, Minister Faeser agreed with Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia to expand cooperation. In addition to clamping down on organised drug crime, this cooperation will include also fighting the weapons trade, human trafficking, money laundering and environmental crimes. To this end, Germany has agreed with these countries to share information more closely as well as to support training programmes and international cooperation projects to fight organised crime.

Along with Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain, Germany is part of the Coalition of European countries against serious and organised crime. Federal Minister Faeser will host the next ministerial meeting of this coalition in Hamburg on 7 May 2024; port security and the resilience of logistical hubs will be key topics addressed at the meeting

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