As part of its priorities in the field of justice and home affairs, the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union initiated the elaboration of the Action Plan on the Fight against Environmental Crime and prepared draft council conclusions on countering environmental crime to bring the scale of the problem to the attention of decision makers.
A conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, held on November 24 and 25, 2016, brought together officials and experts from the law enforcement agencies and other organisations/networks of EU member states (Europol, EnviCrimeNet, BirdLife and the Themis Network) to exchange best practices and also to discuss and propose key activities towards the implementation of the action plan within three proposed topics:
Participants acknowledged that environmental crimes are very specific types of crime that involve many different actors, are highly profitable, and for which sanctions are low. It was reconfirmed that many environmental crime cases remain undetected and unprosecuted, due to challenges in the implementation and enforcement of existing legislation, and due to a lack of inter-institutional and inter-governmental cooperation.
The work of the conference participants fed into the conclusions on countering environmental crime adopted by the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on December 8, 2016.