European Union External Action

EU Statement on the occasion of the Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime Vienna, 12 - 16 October 2020

Vienna, 12/10/2020 - 15:08, UNIQUE ID: 201012_16
Statements on behalf of the EU

Opening statement on the occasion of the

Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties

to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Vienna, 12 - 16 October 2020


Thank you, Mr. Chair, 

  1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member

States. The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§,

The Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia.

  1. Let me start by congratulating you, Mr Chair, on your election. We look forward to you guiding us through this meeting and ensuring the success of our work during these days. We would also like to thank the Secretariat for the preparations of this session.


Mr. Chair,

  1. This Conference of Parties is above all special for two reasons: first of all, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Palermo Convention, which marks an important moment in the fight against organised crime on the international level. Secondly, we expect this Conference to adopt the self-assessment questionnaires and launch the review mechanism, which will allow all of us to find out and better appreciate how the Convention and its Protocols are being implemented and what we can do better.
  2. Transnational organised crime is a threat to human security, including peace, human rights, democratic governance, the rule of law, the environment, public health, socioeconomic development and to international trade and fair economic competition. Organised crime comes at huge costs for victims as well as for the economy. The economic loss in the EU due to organised crime and corruption is huge.
  3. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its three Protocols provide a broad framework to support criminal justice responses aimed at preventing and addressing all the various illicit activities of organised criminal groups and depriving them of their illicit gains. Twenty years after its adoption, the Convention remains a very modern and flexible instrument. It is fit for purpose, and we should make full use of it to effectively address new and emerging forms of crime within the scope of the Convention. That includes environmental crime, trafficking in falsified medical products, trafficking in cultural property, and cybercrime.


  1. For this reason, we want to point at relevant draft resolutions presented by EU Member States.
  2. Organised crime has profited from the COVID-19 pandemic, being highly flexible and adaptable. In the EU, there was a clear and immediate impact on cybercrime including on child sexual abuse, the illicit trafficking in falsified medical products, the trade in counterfeit and substandard goods, and various types of fraud and schemes linked to organised property crime. Addressing the economic dimension of organised crime is even more crucial as our societies recover from effects of the pandemic.
  3. In order to step up its work against organised crime and dismantle organised crime’s business model, the EU adopted, in July 2020, a new Security Union Strategy which pays special attention to organised crime and will adopt beginning of next year a dedicated EU Agenda for tackling organised crime.
  4. Implementing the UNTOC Convention and all its Protocols remains a key task for the EU. We call on all States which have not yet signed, ratified or implemented the Convention and the Protocols thereto, to do so as soon as possible. 
  5. The EU wishes to reaffirm its support to the full implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol and the Firearms Protocol and recognises the central role the Protocols play in the international legal order. In this respect, we appreciate the work delivered by UNODC, as guardian of UNTOC and its Protocols and a strategic partner of the EU.  
  6. We also value the Vienna UN hub as the centre of UN expertise on preventing and combating crime. UNTOC and the Protocols thereto represent one of the successful products negotiated here. We should continue to make use of this existing expertise e.g. when it comes to addressing cybercrime.
  7. We strongly believe that a dialogue between organised civil society and State Parties is of importance in order to achieve the goals of this Convention. Civil society representatives should therefore also have the widest possible access to this Conference. 
  8. We now look forward to a very productive meeting. Let us all stay safe.


 Thank you, Mr. Chair.


§ Candidate Country

* Candidate Countries The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country   Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.