EU Boosts Fight Against Crime in Latin America with EL PAcCTO 2.0

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

In a significant move to bolster international efforts against transnational organized crime, the European Union (EU) inaugurated EL PAcCTO 2.0 on November 21, 2023. This program marks the second phase of the Europe-Latin America Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime, aimed at enhancing the capabilities of Latin American and Caribbean nations to combat such criminal activities.

Recognizing transnational organized crime as a major threat to democratic societies, the EU has emphasized the necessity of its partnership with Latin American and Caribbean countries. This collaboration is seen as vital for improving the lives of citizens in both regions, where security remains a top concern.

The initiative was reaffirmed at the Third Summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in July 2023. Leaders agreed to fortify EU-CELAC cooperation in citizen security and social justice, targeting organized crime in various forms.

EL PAcCTO aims to bolster regional capacity to fight transnational crime by supporting regionally owned integration in justice and security, and enhancing transatlantic coordination. The EU is backing this program with a €58.8 million budget. Its execution will involve a consortium of six agencies from five EU Member States: Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands. The program is open to all Latin American and Caribbean countries, including South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Anticipated outcomes of the program include strengthened criminal justice institutions, enhanced strategic dialogue on justice and security, and improved technical capacity of justice systems. The focus will also be on bettering legislation and policies, particularly for vulnerable populations, with active involvement from civil society.

EL PAcCTO 2.0 will also bolster the operational capabilities of criminal justice entities in prosecuting organized crimes, such as drug, human, firearm, cultural goods trafficking, as well as cyber and environmental crimes.

The program is an extension of the successful first phase of El PacCTO, which facilitated the creation of the Latin America Committee for Internal Security (CLASI) and supported AMERIPOL (Comunidad de Policías de América), culminating in the signing of its constitutive treaty in Brazil.