UNODC Executive Director addresses Vienna Ministerial Conference on the role of internal security in the relations between the EU and its neighbours, 4 May 2006 

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Exporting Security

A big fear among many Europeans is insecurity, and many Europeans feel that they are importing insecurity from the outside world:  illegal immigration, drugs, trafficking in persons, organized crime etc. 

There is truth to this.  Of course in the past Europe has exported some of its own problems.  Yet, progressively more open and more integrated as it is, the EU is now more vulnerable to shocks from the outside. 

What is the solution? I believe Europe should counter-react and export security.  

Internal security starts in far away places, wherever there are sources of instability, violence and injustice. What happens in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Africa or in the Andes is Europe's problem, if not today then tomorrow.

Exporting security means that the more is done at the source, the better.

It is also cost effective. For example, a gram of heroin costs about 1 Euro in Kabul and 100 Euro in Vienna. The cost of seizing that gram in Vienna is approximately 100 Euros, but in Afghanistan it can be seized for 1 Euro. So an ounce of prevention really is worth at least a pound of cure. 

Let me give you three examples of how you can export security in relation to drugs, corruption, and organized crime.


The threat posed by drugs can be lowered by reducing supply, demand and trafficking. 

Reducing supply of drugs is one way of exporting security. The issue is not simply one of eradication. Drug-producing countries like Afghanistan, Laos, Burma, Bolivia and Columbia are some of the poorest in the world, and some of the most unstable. To abandon illicit crops, farmers need viable alternatives:  reducing drug supply goes hand in hand with promoting development and job-creation in the countryside. 

Of course, containing the drugs problem also depends on reducing demand. More needs to be done to curb Europe's growing appetite for cocaine and cannabis.


Throughout the world, corruption is an impediment to governance, democracy, development and aid effectiveness. It can cause the break-down of societies, it leads to more poverty and more mistrust towards business and politics. Corrupt environments can be a breeding ground for other evils, like insurgency and terrorism.

In our UNODC report on Africa we have shown that corruption is both a cause and a consequence of under-development.  Now, together with African governments, we are working on the solution -- by providing technical assistance to strengthen the rule of law and good governance. 

The EU can export security by providing resources, know-how and assistance to affected counter-parts. I appreciate the support the European Commission has extended to Nigeria and Cape Verde through our UNODC office.  We agree with our friends in Brussels that the lessons of Africa can be applied elsewhere.


Organized crime in the EU's neighbourhood is getting a lot of attention these days. There are clearly problems in a number of places.  You can help. 

As part of the pull factor of accession and closer co-operation with the EU, you can require States to live up to UN-standards like the recent Conventions against Corruption and against Organized Crime.  States should be asked to develop better domestic means against them both, and stronger institutions for the administration of justice. Later this year UNODC will release a report on Crime and Stability in the Balkans and affected countries that will provide more food for thought on this issue.  

To conclude, when looking at EU internal insecurity, I encourage you to look at how the EU can export security. In addition to generous development assistance, you have a self-interest to do so:  drugs, crime and corruption elsewhere affect us all.  Nip the problems at their origin, namely improve the lives of those directly concerned, and this will reduce the spill-over onto the EU.