Photo: Ministry of Interior
On 8 May 2018, the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior hosted the 5th meeting of the Informal Network of Law Enforcement Authorities and Expertise Competent in the Field of Cultural Goods (EU CULTNET).
The participants discussed ideas for the future of EU CULTNET, taking into account an initiative by the Bulgarian Presidency to formalise the network. The proposal is based on the readiness of the Netherlands to ensure the functioning of a possible permanent secretariat.
“We realise that when preserving our history from criminal violations, we prevent the facilitation and financing of many other forms of serious crime, as well as terrorism. Our strategies and actions for improving the protection of our heritage are crucial for our present and our future,”
said Senior Commissioner Blagorodna Makeva, Deputy Director of the Bulgarian National Police General Directorate and Chair of the Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP). Acknowledging the continuance of the process of formalising the network, she stressed the need for a common and comprehensive approach in effectively countering the phenomenon of illicit trafficking and trade in cultural goods.
Along with the strategic deliberations on the future of EU CULTNET, the delegates discussed the state of play of the network’s activities and reviewed current challenges in combating crimes against cultural heritage. The meeting was attended by representatives of the EU Member States which are part of the network, Europol, the European Commission and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
EU CULTNET is an informal network of law enforcement authorities and experts competent in the field of cultural goods, set up by the Council in October 2012 for the purpose of preventing and combating crime against cultural goods. The Network cooperates with international organisations such as Interpol and UNESCO as well as relevant third countries authorities. The activities of the Network are supervised by the Law Enforcement Working Party.