The visit was part of the EUROFRONT border management project, and the use of new technologies to increase security was one of the key points on the agenda
This week six specialists in border management from Colombia and Ecuador have learnt first-hand how crime is fought in the Operation Crossing the Strait, Operation Minerva and the Port of Algeciras, among others.
The visit, framed in the European project EUROFRONT, which focuses on border management, in which the FIIAPP and the International Cooperation Division of the National Police make their knowledge and experience available to other countries.
Both delegations have witnessed the work against cross-border crime carried out by specialised agents of the National Police of the General Commissariat for Foreigners and Borders (CGEF), the International Cooperation Division (DCI) and the Sub-Directorate General for Logistics and Innovation.
In the same way, the specialists have visited the Port of Algeciras to learn about various operations, such as Operation Minerva, of the European agency FRONTEX, with the aim of “contributing to the fight against cross-border crime, with special attention to human trafficking and trafficking in human beings, illicit drug trafficking or illicit trafficking of vehicles, among others”. During the visit to Tarifa, they learned about the operational functioning of the port.
During the stay in Algeciras, the inspector of the National Police and EUROFRONT expert, Víctor Alfredo Suárez, warned about the global situation regarding cross-border crime and urged to strengthen cooperation: “illegal immigration and related cross-border crimes have become a great source of income for criminal groups that operate this type of illicit activity, so it is necessary to create spaces for cooperation in which the different agents involved in migration control can exchange data to be more efficient in the fight against these criminal phenomena”.
Likewise, the Colombian and Ecuadorian migration representatives shared the challenges and strategies of their respective countries with regard to the prevention of cross-border crime.
For Andrés Rodríguez, representative of the International Cooperation Division of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one of the main needs of Latin America in the fight against cross-border crime is technological development: “We have seen with the EU how the efficient use of information and communication technology has led to an efficiency in police and migration management that we are really interested in learning about. It seems important to me to carry out a round of innovation in Colombia with regard to what has been achieved in the Schengen area, in order to be able to adapt this knowledge to our realities together with EUROFRONT”.
María Soledad Córdova, Ambassador of the Foreign Service of Ecuador, also stressed this idea of two-way learning between Latin America and Europe: “In this visit we have learned about the degree of unity and coordination of the EU, for example through Operation Minerva, and I believe that Europe can also learn from Ecuador’s bi-national experience, both with Peru and Colombia, about the way in which we seek to defend the victims of organised crime and reintegrate them into society.
This exchange of knowledge between regions is part of the methodology implemented by EUROFRONT. This programme develops its action with seven partner countries in a national dimension, but pays special attention to the promotion of the regional dimension, facilitating collective work between countries, the production of common tools and the work in supranational alliances and networks.
This is not the programme’s first activity that delves into the issue of the fight against crime. In July of this year, the programme team travelled to Paraguay to hold a conference against drug trafficking, where a series of recommendations were drawn up to make investigations against this crime more efficient and which will be published in the coming weeks by the EUROFRONT, el PAcCTO and COPOLAD programmes.