Earlier this year, Europol and the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium co-hosted the first European Serious and Organised Crime Conference. Featuring a number of prominent speakers and panels, the conference looked to address the threat of organised crime to the EU. The growth in sophistication and scale that is rapidly expanding among criminal organisations has become a major concern to government, law enforcement and business. With almost blatant abandon, criminals are amassing enormous profits with contraband, counterfeiting, trafficking, firearms and more. This is at the expense of legitimate industry, tax payers and consumers. Looking to discuss the role and responsibility industry and business should take in aiding authorities in the fight against criminality the conference hosted a series of speakers from various fields, including members of Parliament, Europol’s Series and Organised Crime division and the European External Action Service. The end goal was to pool ideas and address issues with the intent of developing solutions to the security challenges these crimes generate.

Co-host British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium represents a network of European businesses. They are the only platform that offers a neutral environment for trusted, diverse, informal exchanges of ideas among stakeholders, peers and policy makers. Though British in origin the British Chamber is a self-governing, independent and international body providing industry and businesses with networking, insight and profiling. Held in Brussels on 28 February 2013, the programme included opening remarks by Glenn Vaughan, the Executive Director of the British Chamber. Keynotes addresses included Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, discussing the scale of the challenges and conference objectives; the Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud, European Commission, Algirdas Šemeta, leading a discussion on the impact of organised crime on the protection of the financial interests of the EU; and David O’Sullivan, COO of the European External Action Service covering trans-regional and global organised crime and EU external relations. Closing remarks came from Brian Donald, Head of the Office of the Director at Europol. The threat of organised crime has long been a consideration for the EU, law enforcement and policy makers. This conference is another positive step in the overall battle to curtail these criminal activities.