NEWS

Russia, EU will join to fight crime

Russia and the European Union have agreed to forge a closer relationship in judicial and police cooperation in order to bring Russia closer to the EU and to help fight organized crime and corruption, the Greek Justice Ministry said yesterday. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, European Commissioner Antonio Vitorino, Italian Deputy Justice Minister Jole Santelli and Deputy Interior Minister Antonio d’Ali met with Russian Justice Minister Yury Chaika and Deputy Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev in Athens. Italy will succeed Greece in the EU presidency in July. «The two sides recognized the need for Russia to ratify and apply the Conventions of the European Council on a series of crucial issues, such as money laundering, the investigation and confiscation of property gained through criminal activity, the protection of private data and the criminal and civil convention on fighting corruption,» the Justice Ministry announced. It said that Russia must implement the Hague Conventions on family law, specifically that concerning protection of children (with regard to kidnapping, international adoption, parental care and measures to protect them). The EU will help Russia reform its legal system, the ministry said. «As the minister noted, the establishment of a secure, just and transparent judicial space constitutes a precondition for the securing of democracy and the principle of justice,» it said. «Finally, it was ascertained that there was a need for closer cooperation and effective dealing with organized crime,» the ministry said. «Special mention was made to money laundering and the trade in people, where better coordination of investigations between the competent authorities and the facilitation of mutual judicial cooperation, in conjunction with the exploitation of the possibilities provided by the European judicial network, will be pursued.» Chrysochoidis said: «We must work together to turn our declarations into actions… Priority must be given to the fighting of organized crime and illegal immigration, through the necessary progress in negotiations and an agreement on the return of people.»