The EU is creating a hub in Moldova to battle organized crime, particularly arms smuggling from war-roiled neighboring Ukraine, an official said Monday.
EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson announced the EU Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management at a meeting of EU interior ministers which was expanded to include counterparts from non-EU countries Ukraine and Moldova.
The meeting in Prague focused on the threat of weapons — many of them supplied by the West — being smuggled out of Ukraine to equip crime gangs in Europe.
“By experience from the previous war in former Yugoslavia, we still have problems with firearms being trafficked from there to the organized criminal groups, feeding into violence in the criminal networks in European Union,” Johansson said on arrival.
The commissioner said the hub will be a “one-stop shop” allowing Europol to share information and for the EU’s border guard agency Frontex to support border management and detection of firearms trafficking.
It will also aim to counter the traffic of human beings.
Swedish Migration Minister Anders Ygeman said most of the weapons supplied to Ukraine were staying in the hands of the Ukrainian military, and “just a limited number of those weapons used in the war that can actually be used by organized crime later on”.
But “we have to have measures of controlling weapons flow after the war in Ukraine,” he said.
The interim head of Frontex, Aija Kalnaja, said Moldova was chosen for the hub “because this is where the trafficking of weapons can come mostly.”