Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz is convinced that the Netherlands, in collaboration with other countries, will win the fight against serious crime. That struggle can become more violent, she admits, if the government is fully committed to it. “It is a fierce battle”, said the minister at the table at Op 1, “but it is unthinkable that you let go of the fight.”

    Drug bosses must be prevented from taking over, as is the case in a country like Mexico, the minister said. “I’m not saying we’re going that way, but I’m also not saying it’s unthinkable if you let go of the fight.”

    Moreover, the battle that is being waged is not one against criminals, but above all for the democratic constitutional state. “It’s at stake,” Yeşilgöz says. According to her, far too few people realize that.

    The minister will host the European conference on tackling organized crime in Amsterdam on Friday. Ministers and representatives of Justice and Home Affairs from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and Spain meet there to discuss tackling serious organized crime. Representatives of the European Commission, Europol and Eurojust are also present. Yeşilgöz hopes that the current tactical and operational cooperation will be broadened to strategic cooperation.

    The minister wants to tackle criminal power structures. She cites Italy as an example, where sometimes hundreds of suspects are on trial. “We are still too focused on individuals at the moment.”

    She is working on various new laws, such as being able to take money and goods from suspects earlier before they are convicted. But the system of monitoring and security – the people who protect judges, politicians and journalists, among others – must also be professionalised, Yeşilgöz believes.