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A swapping of criminal databases – Ukraine

August 21, 2015

24th August is Ukrainian Independence Day – a day this year that will resonate deeply with much of the Ukrainian citizenry.

It is also the day that President Poroshenko will meet with Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande in Berlin.  Something that may well irritate the perpetual paranoia rampant within Kremlin DNA.  The “Normandy Four” minus one.

It seems rather unlikely any major concessions will be extracted from President Poroshenko by the Merkel/Hollande tandem on behalf of The Kremlin – if indeed any are actually sought – looking at the pre-meeting messaging.  Kremlin sensibilities do not rank particularly highly with President Poroshenko naturally.

However 24th August is also the day that Ukraine will renounce its treaty with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) relating to the exchange of criminality information.  A loose analogy would be the Europol – although by no means a mirror image.

Also on 24th August, Ukraine will simultaneously adopt a direct and synchronised channel with Interpol instead.

To be entirely blunt, under the current Kremlin leadership Ukraine has gained very little from its continued CIS criminality information sharing treaty obligations.  There are undoubtedly far more active CIS criminals within illegally annexed Crimea and Kremlin controlled occupied regions than ever before.

Indeed it is unlikely that the Kremlin will know just who and how many, bad, mad and/or sad societal dregs have crossed into the Donbas, or exactly to what extent Russian organised crime has established itself either – a matter that may well haunt the Kremlin in years ahead when thousands of unregistered firearms and explosives appear within the Russian Federation in the hands of the criminal fraternity.

So be it.

The direct channels with Interpol are part of the Visa-free requirements with the EU, and if Ukraine is getting nothing from the aforementioned CIS treaty, then there is no reason to remain within it, or obligated to it.

All of this leads to the reassessment of Ukrainian agreements with Europol.

europol-logoEuropol has two types of agreement with non-EU States.

The agreement it has with Ukraine is “Strategic”.  That agreement in full is here.

The other, a more snug and closer agreement engaged in by Europol, is “Operational”.  By way of example, this agreement between Norway and Europol.

(Other Europol “operational agreements” exist between Columbia, Albania, USA, Canada etc.)

Thus, in dumping the CIS treaty and obligations and assuming direct Interpol channels, there would seem to be a reasonable case for upgrading the existing agreement between Europol and Ukraine from “Strategic” to “Operational” – and with that further “European integration” arguably facilitated by the obligations made within the ratified Association Agreement with regard to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the Ukrainian obligations within GRECO – presuming organised criminality and continent-wide corruption class as “security issues” for the EU.

There would certainly seem to be the room and scope within the Association Agreement implementation agenda.

Perhaps it is a question of when, not if, both Europol and Gov Ukraine see the desirability (rather than necessity) of such an agreement upgrade – but if Ukraine can synchronise and have enhanced direct channels with Interpol, it is surely capable of meeting all requirements of an “operational agreement” with Europol.

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