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Tackling Trafficking and Criminal Networks at Source

Tackling Trafficking and Criminal Networks at Source

Police International Technical Cooperation Service  (SCTIP) Symposium: Speech by M. Nicolas Sarkozy, State Minister, French Minister of Interior, Town and Country Planning (Regional Development). Paris, 5 September 2005. (Excerpts). Source: Quai d'Orsay, Paris.

(...) Since 2002 I have been working to extend our action even beyond our national borders, i.e. to tackle the different trafficking and criminal networks at source.

Terrorism, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings and illegal immigration – every one of these problems has to be addressed by a coordinated, global strategy. This is why it is absolutely essential to strengthen our international cooperation on internal security.

I am pleased to report that the Police International Technical Cooperation Service is currently working in over 100 countries. (...) Every operation we undertake with our foreign partners must help directly or indirectly to increase the safety of the French. (...) Faced with threats as serious as those of terrorism and trafficking, we can no longer accept delaying tactics or lack of cooperation. (...)

We have redeployed our resources in order to focus on a number of priority areas:

- Obviously the European Union is one. With certain European countries, notably Spain, we are in the process of pooling our liaison officers.

- There is also a serious security challenge in the countries adjacent to the European Union: for example, in the Balkans, where there is increasing criminal activity of many different forms, with major international ramifications, and the Maghreb, where terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal immigration present threats.

- We also need to keep close ties with our major global partners, the United States, China and Russia: here too, it is essential to swap both technical and operational experience.

However, such cooperation can no longer be one-way.

  • Technical Cooperation

Technical cooperation with foreign police and gendarmerie services, including training, is still important today. With 1,730 cooperation projects in 2004 at a cost of some €19 million, SCTIP has more than doubled its activity in this sphere over the past decade. (...)

We must receive something in return. We must stop giving aid to countries which don't cooperate with us. (...)

  • Terrorism/London

Combating terrorism is the government's top priority. (...)

In the coming weeks I will bring forward a bill to strengthen our resources in the fight against this scourge, whose many different roots and entirely new forms demand the utmost vigilance.

Your task is to be doubly vigilant and to promote exchanges of information between the French and foreign agencies. The battle we are fighting has implications not only inside France but also for French people living abroad.

With our G5 partners – Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, whose Interior Ministers I brought together in Evian on 4 and 5 July – we decided to reinforce our cooperation. We pledged to improve the exchange of information and intelligence. In that regard, I want to single out the response of the police attaché in London to the 7 July bombings: it was exemplary and he helped arrange for a team of French police officers to come to Britain and very quickly begin exchanging intelligence directly with their British counterparts.

We need to ensure we have a better grasp of all potentially relevant information, in order to be able to act more effectively and faster. Our partners have therefore agreed that we will set up a common platform for exchanging personal data including DNA and fingerprint records.

  • Drug Trafficking/Organized Crime

The second priority I want to highlight is the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. (...)

In pursuit of that fight we have decided to pool our resources with the other G5 countries.

We are thus going to set up a maritime intelligence centre to track vessels potentially involved in bringing drugs into Europe's Atlantic ports. We are going to work with the Spanish and British to clamp down on major traffickers based in southern Spain. We also intend taking steps in Turkey to combat heroin trafficking from the Golden Crescent.

At a broader global level, I'd like us to be more effective and more ambitious in that sensitive region of central Asia, and in the first place in Afghanistan – the world's leading producer of opium – which is the source of 80% of the heroin used in France.

I shall be visiting Pakistan and Afghanistan in early November, after the end of Ramadan.

  • Immigration/Biometric Visas/Declarations of Return

The third priority is immigration.

France is an open country and must remain so. But she can't simply accept all comers.

The aim of my policy is clear: we must move from immigration we put up with to targeted immigration! That means we need more control over immigration, and particularly family immigration. This autumn I shall submit a report on immigration policy to Parliament with the firm intention of seeing it act on it.

On 27 July, I chaired the interministerial immigration control committee, where we decided (...) on a package of measures to enable us to control immigration more effectively.

One of these is the introduction of biometric visas.

Five consulates are currently equipped to issue this type of visa.

By the end of the year, seven more will be ready to do so – in Fez, Tangier, Cotonou, Yaoundé, Brazzaville, Tbilissi and Chisinau.

In 2006, a further 22 will have the necessary facilities – in Rabat, Casablanca, Agadir, Marrakesh, Tunis, Nouakchott, Ankara, Istanbul, Amman, Damascus, Cairo, Tripoli, Lagos, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Douala, Lomé, Dakar, St Louis (Senegal), Moroni, Islamabad and Bombay. (...)

At the G5 meeting in Evian I also gained agreement from our partners to pool our resources in this area and to generalize the issue of biometric visas to all applicants in the Schengen Area. This ties in with the creation of the new European visa database – the Visa Information Service or VIS – which will allow us to develop a common European visa policy and help prevent fraud and improve member States' internal security, the main aims being to combat terrorism and thwart illegal immigration.

I have also asked for the testing from 1 September in 11 consulates (Bamako, Dakar, Kinshasa, Yaoundé, Douala, Tunis, Tbilissi, Nouakchott, Cairo, Islamabad and Colombo) of a new system requiring foreign nationals, issued in these consulates with short-stay visas, to declare their return.

  • Border Police/Secondment

I have made arrangements (...) for border police officers to be seconded to ten vulnerable consulates (Algiers, Bamako, Dakar, Kinshasa, Beijing, Canton, Shanghai, Kiev, Moroni and Yaoundé). I ask you to work closely with them and facilitate their task.

  • Consular Passes

With our G5 partners we also decided to link the issuing of visas with that of consular passes. We have drawn up a list of countries which do not cooperate on the issuing of consular passes, and we will cut the number of visas issued in certain countries (Georgia, Mauritania, Egypt, Pakistan and Cameroon) if they continue refusing to cooperate. (...)

  • Consulates/Prefectures

Controlling immigration also depends upon closer coordination between our consulates and prefectures¹ inside France. (...)

  • Repatriation/Franco-British Flight

I have stated, and I reiterate, that our aim is to increase repatriation by 50% over the 2004 figure. This is, admittedly, an ambitious target, but I would point out that in the first five months of this year we repatriated 7,885 people, i.e. an increase of 22%!

Our determination was demonstrated, for example, when we organized a joint Franco-British flight from Roissy Charles de Gaulle to Kabul on 26 July and another to Romania on 17 August this year. Those will be followed by more similar grouped flights, in accordance with the G5 Interior Ministers' decision. (...)

¹ the office of the préfet, a high-ranking civil servant who represents the State at the level of the department or region.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).