Germany at G7 talks promises 'big step forward' on gang crime

Cost of damage caused by German crime clans surpasses €1 billion

Ministers and officials hold talks during the G7 home affairs meeting in Germany. AFP
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Germany is promising to take a "big step forward" in tackling organised crime.

Before a meeting of G7 interior ministers beginning on Thursday, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser pledged to take a harder line on family crime clans operating in Germany.

It came as new figures showed the criminal damage caused by crime gangs topped €1 billion ($1.03 billion) a year in Germany.

At a former monastery in Germany, the G7 countries will discuss a joint response to human trafficking, child abuse and other issues in two days of talks.

"We have made tackling drug-related crime, human trafficking and sexual exploitation priorities of Germany's G7 presidency," Ms Faeser said.

"The results of our negotiations will be finalised in the next two days ... and I can tell you now, we will take a big step forward."

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman, representing Britain at the talks, said the G7 faced security threats it "must tackle together".

"We face a number of shared challenges, including terrorism and extremism, state threats and protecting our children from online abuse," she said.

A report published by Germany's criminal police on the eve of the talks said criminal gangs were increasingly willing to turn to violence.

The €1 billion in annual damages were the highest on record, and the number of investigations into organised crime was up by 17 per cent compared with 2020.

A man is led away by police with a blanket over his head during a raid in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Police cracked down on clan crime in Berlin and the surrounding area with a major raid on Thursday morning. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)

The report said crime clans were known for sheltering people in "family structures defined by ethnic identity" and running what amounted to a "parallel justice system".

"It is absolutely unacceptable that criminal clan members live in walled-off family structures, with their own set of values and outside the rule of law," Ms Faeser said.

German clans have been blamed for attention-grabbing crimes such as the theft of a giant gold coin from Berlin and a spectacular museum robbery in Dresden.

Although much crime is dealt with by regional police, the government in Berlin wants to play a greater role by co-ordinating investigations into clan crime.

Ms Faeser wants to establish an "alliance against clan crime" so that willing state governments can make such co-operation happen.

The G7 talks are also expected to focus on terrorism, migration and security threats arising from the war in Ukraine.

Italy's new Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi was lobbying for new measures to limit illegal migration to Europe.

It came after Italy enraged France by turning away a migrant rescue ship from its waters, saying other countries had to share the burden.

Updated: November 17, 2022, 1:19 PM