The Roma-Lyons Group

The Roma/Lyons Group (R/L) is a working group that was first set up under the Italian presidency of the G8 in 2001.  It debates and develops issues and strategies relating to public security in an effort to combat terrorism and transnational crime.  The group also addresses legal themes and issues relating to transport.  Its work is masterminded by foreign and interior ministry representatives.

The group prepares projects which are then submitted to the member countries and debated in working sub-groups in order to ensure a shared approach in the G8 countries to such phenomena as the struggle against terrorism and organized crime.  It does this by working on "best practices" and on recommendations designed to safeguard public security.

The conclusions reached in the course of these activities are then submitted for approval to the G8 group's interior and justice ministers at their annual meeting which, this year, is due to be held in Rome on 29 and 30 May.

During the ministerial meeting it is planned to draft a "joint interior-justice declaration" that will essentially be political and progammatic in nature.  The document will explain the Roma / Lyons Group's activities and illustrate the basic direction in which the G8 is moving in the struggle against those phenomena that threaten the security and stability both of the member countries and of the third countries towards which the group's activities need to be directed.

The content of this declaration will contribute to the drafting of the security aspects in the final document that is to be issued at the end of the summit of heads of state and government leaders in L'Aquila.

The Meetings

The Roma/Lyons Group traditionally meets three times a year, with experts meeting at the sub-group level and with a plenary session that sums up the conclusions reached at those sessions.

Under the Italian G8 presidency in 2009, the first plenary session was held in Rome from 9 to 11 February, the second was held in Naples from 20 to 23 April, and the last will be held in the capital again from16 to 18 November.

On the sidelines of the Roma-Lyons Group's activities it is also planned to hold two meetings -- one for each presidency -- of a group known as the "Counter Terrorism Action Group - CTAG".  This is essentially a diplomatic forum attended not only by the G8 countries but also by representatives from Spain, Australia and Switzerland.  The group concerns itself with issues linked to the struggle against international terrorism and with devising technical and professional assistance programmes for the benefit of police forces in third countries.

At the first plenary meeting in Rome, the Italian presidency illustrated the objectives that it intends to achieve in the course of its 2009 G8 presidency in the areas of justice and interior affairs:  the struggle against terrorism, radicalization and funding, combating the various kinds of international crime, illegal immigration and urban violence.  Also, particular attention was devoted to developments in the situation in Afghanistan, both from the political standpoint and in terms of crime, with special reference to drug trafficking, in an effort to set in motion a project designed to improve the exchange of information among DLO (drug law offences) liaison officers in the G8 countries, and to draft an accurate assessment of the threat.

At the second plenary meeting in Naples, the Italian presidency presented the guidelines for the G8 interior and justice ministers' meeting, and the partner country delegations debated the numerous operational projects on the table in greater depth.  In particular, the Italian delegation won final approval for 10 projects relating, for instance, to the struggle against currency counterfeiting, international organized crime and the exploitation of under-age minors in sex tourism.  These projects were the result of lengthy and complex work that began in September 2007.

Contributions from delegations from other countries include an initiative put forward by the United Kingdom (currently under approval) for a joint assessment, in the G8 framework, of the threat posed by transnational organized crime.  This is something that has already been taking place at the European Level for some time with the Organised Crime Threat Assessment - OCTA.  There is also a US project for the protection of chemical infrastructures against terrorist attacks.

Source: Ministry of the Interior