Dear Minister Cuci,
Dear colleagues Ambassadors,
Dear Director Terrón Cusí,
It is a pleasure to welcome you today and launch together this new project improving the fight against organised crime through proactive and intelligence-based financial investigations.
Since I arrived in Tirana, “follow the money” has been a permanent motto of our approach to supporting the fight against criminal groups.
Organised crime organisations have one simple objective: financial profit, reached through laundering money in increasingly creative and sophisticated ways.
Only financial investigations based on new technologies and forensic equipment can ensure that criminal organisations are disrupted and deprived from those profits.
The project we are launching today project is a game changer. With 5,5 million euro, including 2,4 million for equipment, it will allow prosecution offices, law enforcement agencies (including NBI), tax authorities, and customs and financial intelligence units to build the required expertise and increase their ability to uncover the activity of serious and organised crime.
The support is genuinely European, combining best practices from several of our Member States. I would like to thank my colleagues from Spain, The Netherlands and Italy for having believed in this project and made sure that it concretises today.
Our cooperation is guided by the value of partnership, built on the exchange of knowledge and expertise. This is a joint commitment of all partners.
The fight against organised crime is a key priority for the EU accession of Albania. Increasing financial investigation capacities of all actors involved will bring more solid evidence in front of the Courts, contributing to building a stronger track record.
The project will also help Albania’s progress in its efforts to improve its performance in the context of the Financial Action Task Force. The implementation of the FATF Action Plan is on-track, but more final convictions and more confiscations of criminal assets are still needed.
The expectations towards this EU support are high and will require the full cooperation of all partners and institutions. Backed by 15 million euro invested in the last four years by the European Union to modernise the police and customs, and nearing the full establishment of the NBI, Albania now has an important set of assets on its side to rise to this challenge.
The EU will of course continue supporting the efforts and the dedication of the many prosecutors and police officers who are every day are on the frontline of protecting Albania and its citizens.