The European border management programme EUROFRONT, co-led by the Spanish Cooperation through the FIIAPP, promotes the creation of the Athens Network, which will be made up of national call centres aimed at resolving the queries of border management professionals in an agile manner
Representatives of the partner countries of the European Union’s EUROFRONT programme and the Spanish National Police today signed a memorandum of understanding in Madrid for the creation of the Athens Network, a network for the exchange of information on travel documents to combat the crime of document fraud.
In this way, migration and law enforcement officials from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru are committed to putting in place an agile and efficient instrument for the detection of illicit passports and travel documents at their borders. A verification centre will be set up in each of the countries, where specialists in document forgery will offer identity and travel document verification services to the countries that make up the network. This network will in turn be linked to European centres, which will facilitate the exchange of information between the two regions.
This initiative takes as an example the Athens Point, an innovative experience developed by the Spanish National Police, and is part of the exchange of experiences carried out between the institution and the representatives of the partner countries of the European programme EUROFRONT, who during the 2nd and 3rd of November have got to know this mechanism first hand.
Athens Point acts as the Central Office for Documentary Verification. It is used by law enforcement officials to resolve queries on the veracity of passports and travel documents. Athens Point officers resolve these queries based on their experience, databases, specimens and dealings with the country issuing the document. One of the advantages of this mechanism is that the queries refer only to the travel document and do not generate databases.
Furthermore, the implementation of the Athens Network, one of the milestones of the European EUROFRONT programme, will strengthen the fight against other related crimes, as document fraud is only the tip of the iceberg indicating the existence of other illicit activities, such as crimes against property, human trafficking, trafficking in human beings, child abduction, terrorism or irregular immigration.
On the occasion of the signing of this document, the Chief Commissioner Luis Mayandía, Head of the Central Unit for Irregular Immigration Networks, Documentary Falsification and Cross-border Crime, highlighted that “Athens Point is an innovative experience and a pioneering project in the framework of border control in the European Union, which shows that the exchange of knowledge can help both national security forces and those of other countries in their work, as demonstrated by the signing of the agreement for the creation of the Athens Network”.
For his part, the Director of Component 1 of the EUROFRONT programme, at FIIAPP, the Spanish Cooperation entity that facilitates cooperation between institutions, José Antonio Cambronero, indicated that, with this action, “the EUROFRONT programme lays the foundations for a rapid, useful and efficient fight against false documents and other related crimes, which shows that international cooperation and the exchange of experiences has enormous potential for effective migration control focused on guaranteeing people’s security”.