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SEE countries to fight crime together

07. March 2009. | 10:00 10:03

Source: EMportal

At the regional ministerial conference in Belgrade today, the Declaration on Border Security in Southeastern Europe was adopted and signed by officials of interior ministers of Serbia, Montenegro, FYRMacedonia, B-H, and Albania.

At the regional ministerial conference in Belgrade today, the Declaration on Border Security in Southeastern Europe was adopted and signed by officials of interior ministers of Serbia, Montenegro, FYRMacedonia, B-H, and Albania.

The document reads that the progress was made in the field of strengthening border security, which is of great importance for closer connections of the regional states with the EU and cancellation of Schengen visas for their citizens.

Ministers outlined concrete objectives in the Declaration that should be achieved by 2012 in the process of association with the EU. It is planned that by then legal regulations and national operational procedures for control and supervision of borders should be fully harmonized with the EU standards.

As stated, implementation of the management concept in national border police should commence by 2012, that is, a modern program for fight against corruption in this field.

On the second day of the Conference, interior ministers of Serbia, B-H and Montenegro signed the protocols on formation of joint border patrols.

Earlier today, Serbian and Hungarian officials signed the agreement on cooperation of authorities to fight organized crime.

Serbia also signed a document on long-term strategic partnership with the Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) from Geneva that was organizer of the ministerial gathering in Belgrade along with the Serbian Interior Ministry.

Dacic: Biggest conference in last 10 years

Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic stated that Belgrade will utilize the fact that it is hosting the Sixth Ministerial Conference on cooperation in the field of border security to show how much it has done in the process of European integrations.

"This is one of the biggest international conferences held in Belgrade in perhaps more than 10 years. There are more than 350 participants from 30 countries, as well as representatives from 16 international organizations and eight ministers of the interior," Dacic told BETA.

He added that the topic of the conference is border security, which is very significant for the regional path toward the EU.

"It will largely determine the way toward visa liberalization, and the candidacy of regional countries for the EU in general," he said.

Dacic expressed satisfaction that ministers of the interior had accepted his invitation, underlining that it is a confirmation of the successful cooperation in the past year.

The liberalization of the visa regime between the European Union and Serbia, as well as other regional countries, could happen very soon, European Commission representative Jan Truscinski said.

Truscinski, who is the deputy general director of the European Commission's expansion directorate, said that daily the commission was carefully analyzing the results of tasks which the region's countries are carrying out and that Brussels was ready to help.

Speaking at the sixth ministerial conference on cooperation in the field of border security in Southeastern Europe, held in the Palace of Serbia, he highlighted the importance of the fight against corruption and organized crime.

Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer, whose country holds the European Union presidency, emphasized that in regard to visa regime liberalization, positive messages were being received from the European Commission's experts.

"We are supporting you and we will help with everything we can. I am sure that we will soon be part of a joint European space," said Langer.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mihail Mikov said during his speech that democratic reforms were dependent on border security and the fight against organized crime.

In his words, cooperation in those fields protects the so-called third pillar of security in Europe, because of which it is important to introduce a network of officers who would coordinate the work among countries.

Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni recalled that one of the main problems for European countries is the smuggling of drugs, which come via Africa from South America and are then distributed in Europe.

He also emphasized the importance of fighting illegal migration. The Balkans, according to him, are a very important and strategic area for the whole of Europe, because of which cooperation in the supply of intelligence and cooperation with Europol are of great significance.

Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) Theodor Winkler told Tanjug on Thursday Serbia had made significant progress toward the white Schengen list, and pointed out that the chances were big for the country to fulfill the conditions required for the granting of the non-visa regime with the EU countries.

It is not unrealistic to expect that the conditions will be fulfilled during the year, and significant progress has been made in that respect, Winkler said ahead of a ministerial conference on border security in South East Europe.

The EU appreciates the evident effort Serbia has made to that effect and if this was not so, (European Enlargement) Commissioner Olli Rehn would not even mention the possibility of the non-visa regime, he said.

He added that this conference, which was attended by the interior ministers of the region, Italy and the Czech Republic, a country which currently presides over the EU, represented still another proof that Serbia had made progress on the EU pathway.


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