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Programme of exchanges, training and cooperation for persons responsible for action to combat organised crime (Falcone)

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1) OBJECTIVE

To facilitate the implementation and monitoring of the action plan to combat organised crime by means of a programme to promote coordinated measures.

2) ACT

Council Joint Action 98/245/JHA of 19 March 1998 establishing a programme of exchanges, training and cooperation for persons responsible for action to combat organised crime (Falcone programme) [Official Journal L 99, 31.03.1998].

3) SUMMARY

Establishment for the period 1998 to 2002 of a programme (Falcone) to promote coordinated measures for persons responsible for the fight against organised crime in order to facilitate the implementation and monitoring of the action plan to combat organised crime (Art. 1).

For the purposes of this Joint Action, "Persons responsible for the fight against organised crime" means the following categories of persons (Art. 1):

  • judges:
  • public prosecutors;
  • police and customs departments;
  • civil servants;
  • public tax authorities and authorities responsible for overseeing financial establishments and public procurement contracts and for combating fraud and corruption;
  • representatives of professional circles likely to be affected by the implementation of various recommendations set out in the action plan;
  • academics and scientists.

The programme covers measures in the following fields (Art. 1):

  • training;
  • joint projects designed to improve knowhow and operational methods of cooperation in the fight against organised crime;
  • programmes of courses, organisation of meetings and seminars;
  • research, specialised studies, including operational feasibility studies and assessment;
  • circulation and exchange of information;
  • any other measures that might promote the implementation of the action plan against organised crime.

The financing of measures under this programme precludes cumulative recourse to any other programme under Title VI and other Community financing programmes with the exception of Community programmes specifically aimed at supporting the efforts of the applicant countries to prepare for accession to the European Community (Art 1).

Subject to the provisions of point 4, consideration may be given, from the point of view of training, to projects with the following aims:

  • greater reciprocal knowledge of specific aspects of laws and regulations;
  • devising of teaching modules for training, exchange and in-service training schemes (Art. 3).

Priority must be given to the feasibility studies and research specifically recommended in the action plan. Furthermore, consideration may be given to projects with the following aims:

  • definition of common standards and methodology;
  • implementation of scientific research;
  • comparison and assessment of instruments directly or indirectly applicable to the fight against organised crime;
  • comparison and assessment of practices used in the fight against organised crime by operational departments (police, customs, judiciary) (Art. 6).

As regards the dissemination and exchange of information, consideration may be given to projects with the following aims, as laid down in the action plan to combat organised crime:

  • assistance in setting up a network of contact points to facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation procedures between the departments concerned;
  • aid for the creation and development of databases or electronic data networks containing legislation and case law (Art 7).

To qualify for Community finance, a project must be of particular interest to the European Union and involve at least three Member States.

The bodies responsible for projects may be public or private organisations (Art. 8).

Financing decisions and the contracts deriving from them will provide for follow-up and financial monitoring by the Commission and audits by the Court of Auditors (Art. 9).

All types of expenditure directly attributable to implementation of a project and incurred during a contractually set period are eligible for financing. Financial support from the Community budget may not exceed 80% of the cost of the project (Art. 10).

The Commission will be responsible for implementing the measures provided for in this Joint Action and will adopt the detailed procedures for applying it, including the eligibility criteria for costs (Art. 11).

The Commission will be assisted by a committee consisting of one representative from each Member State and chaired by a representative of the Commission (Art. 12).

The Commission will submit the draft annual programme to the committee. The committee, acting unanimously, will deliver its opinion within a period of two months.

Once the annual programme has been adopted, the Commission will forward it to the European Parliament and keep the committee informed of the latter's views (Art. 12).

Each year, the Commission will produce a summary report to the European Parliament and the Council on the operations undertaken and the evaluation carried out (Art. 14).

The Joint Action entered into force on 19 March 1998.

4) IMPLEMENTING MEASURES

Annual programme for 1998 - Official Journal C 165, 30.5.1998
Annual programme for 1999
- Official Journal C 12, 16.01.1999
Annual programme and call for applications for projects for 2000
- Official Journal C 355, 08.12.1999.
It lays out the annual priorities regarding the implementation of the programme on the one hand and supplies general and practical information to applicants seeking finance to initiate projects on the other.
Annual programme and call for applications for projects for 2001 - Official Journal C 356, 12.12.2000
The present annual programme focuses on activities contributing to the implementation and monitoring of the programme entitled "Prevention and control of organised crime", adopted by the Council on 27 May 2000 and published in the Official Journal C 124, 03 05 2000.

5) FOLLOW-UP WORK

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