'Today marks an important and historic step in strengthening the international combating of organised crime and terrorism', INTERPOL's chief executive Ronald K. Noble said on Monday as he and his Europol counterpart Jürgen Storbeck signed a cooperation agreement between the two international police agencies.
The signing concludes the successful negotiations between the International Criminal Police Organisation and the European Union's Police Bureau on how to effectively join forces in fighting crime. Present at the ceremony, which took place in Brussels under the aegis of the EU Presidency currently held by Belgium, were also Antoine Duquesne, Belgium's Minister of the Interior and Antonio Vitorino, the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner.
'In the fight against international terrorists and other criminals there is no excuse for duplicating law enforcement efforts but all the reason for efficient collaboration. Europol's and INTERPOL's move to share critical criminal intelligence will strengthen the work of both organisations', said Secretary General Noble.
'The world is today faced with severe threats from terrorism, the drugs trade, the trafficking in human beings, cyber crime, the trade in stolen vehicles and other organised crime. These are areas where our adversaries build alliances and join forces. To protect our citizens all of us engaged in law enforcement must do the same', Mr Noble continued.
'One immediate challenge to both Europol and INTERPOL is the obvious crime risks that will inevitably follow the introduction on 1 January 2002 of the Euro, the new European currency. To fight back these threats INTERPOL will add the support of its 179 member countries which include the 15 Europol members', Secretary General Noble continued.
The text of the cooperation agreement between INTERPOL and Europol was approved by the Council of the European Union on 27 June 2001, and by the INTERPOL General Assembly at its 70th session, held in Budapest, on 26 September 2001.