Press Release

Belgium and Ecuador strengthen police cooperation in fight against organised crime

Today, Monday 27 February, in Quito the Minister of Interior Annelies Verlinden signed a cooperation protocol with Ecuador on the fight against organised crime. As such, the two countries are reaffirming their commitment to intensify police cooperation. In essence, it involves stronger coordination and sharing of expertise and information.

The Port of Antwerp is an economic hub for Belgium and the European Union. But unfortunately, what makes it so interesting for the legal trade also makes it interesting for illegal trade. Last year, 110 tons of cocaine were seized in the Port of Antwerp, of which 56.4 tons came from Ecuador. About the same amount of cocaine that was destined to arrive in Antwerp was also seized in 2022 in the Ecuadorian ports, mainly the port of Guayaquil. The fight against drug crime, therefore, requires strong cooperation between the two countries.

That is why in Quito, in the presence of European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, Minister Annelies Verlinden signed a protocol on police cooperation with her Ecuadorian counterpart, Minister Juan Zapata. As such, both countries express their willingness to strengthening cooperation by organising training, sharing good practices, exchanging information and coordinating police investigations.

The new liaison officer of the Federal Police will follow up the implementation of the protocol for Belgium. He took up his functions at the beginning of the month to strengthen coordination and information-sharing between Belgium and Ecuador and Colombia.

"The drug-related violence in our country has an international dimension, and thus requires a cross-border approach. By signing the cooperation protocol, my Ecuadorian colleague is sending a clear signal, namely that he wants to intensify our joint fight against organised crime. This is essential for keeping drugs out of our ports, and drug violence off our streets", said Minister of Interior Annelies Verlinden.