Dinnerspeech by Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, Europol Galadiner 29 September 2021


Executive Director Ms De Bolle, Commissioner Johansson, Minister Hojs, Police Chiefs, dear all,

On behalf of the Municipality of The Hague, welcome to this Gala Dinner. A dinner that marks the start of the tenth European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC). We are proud to house Europol’s headquarters here. That – after last year’s Corona break – we are once again welcoming Europe’s top police chiefs to this two-day convention.

You will discuss organised international crime. The threat it poses to our institutions and the safety of European citizens and how international police cooperation is what we need to fight it. You will share information and insights in the field of international drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking and rising cybercrime. You will keep each other alert to the ever-present threat of terrorism.

All these issues also play a role in our country and in our region. Drug import via the port of Rotterdam, the increasing grip of South American cartels on the production and distribution of synthetic drugs, criminal undermining of local government. From the crime-fighting world, alarming noises can be heard about the fight against organised crime, which we are too often losing.

The Hague has an additional responsibility. We are the seat of government, the capital of the Hague and the residence of embassies. We are the seat of many institutions, organisations and businesses in the field of peace and justice. Here, we are not only dealing with crime as such, but also with national security and the threat to it from state actors.

But we are not leaving it at that. We are taking up our responsibility together with the national government and the institutions for crisis and counter-terrorism. As a city for instance, we host the ONE Conference, one of the world’s leading forums on cybercrime.

That is what we can do on the basis of our responsibility. And that has its place in an approach on a national and European level. We are fortunate to host international institutions in the field of peace, justice and security. We are proud to be the host city for leading events such as the ONE Conference and the European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC).

In these uncertain times, I nevertheless hope that we will be able to travel more freely again next year so that you might stay in The Hague a bit longer and enjoy our many cultural and natural attractions. In this spirit, I hope you will appreciate a little souvenir of The Hague which you have probably already found on your chair.

I conclude and wish you an enjoyable dinner and a constructive convention.