Sarajevo, August 31, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
BiH Minister of Security, Dragan Mektić, and Europol’s Director, Rob Wainwright, signed on Wednesday in Sarajevo an agreement to expand cooperation between these institutions in combating cross-border criminal activities. The cooperation will be implemented through exchange of information, including personal data of suspected criminals, and jointly planning operational activities.
The signing of the Agreement on Operational and Strategic Cooperation concludes the successful negotiations between BiH and Europol on how to effectively join forces in fighting crime.
“This new level of cooperation, after entry into force of the agreement, will be important for tackling priority crime areas affecting both BiH and the European Union, such as illegal migration, drug trafficking and counterfeit goods. This agreement replaces the strategic cooperation agreement of 2007”, announced Europol after the ceremony.
Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, said that the signing of this operational agreement marks an important step in strengthening the international combating of organised crime and terrorism, facilitating effective operational cooperation.
“Once in force, almost the entire region will be covered by operational agreements. Our cooperation will make both Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU safer”, Wainwright said.
The text of the cooperation agreement between Europol and BiH was approved by the Council of the European Union earlier this year. The Agreement will be directly applicable in Bosnia and Herzegovina once it is ratified by the competent national authorities.
Wainwright and Mektic visited Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies of BiH and State Investigation and protection agency (SIPA), to see possibilities of these institutions in the battle of organized cross border crime. Director of Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies, Mirsad Vilic, said that the Agreement that was signed will enable more efficient cooperation of BiH police institutions with Europol in battle against terrorism, illegal trade with narcotics, human trafficking, cyber criminal and other kinds of criminal.
During the visit to SIPA, a delegation of Europol met with deputy director Djuro Knezevic, who presented the Agency’s organization and main fields of work. BiH Minister of security, Dragan Mektic, said that this Agency will directly cooperate with Europol and that this cooperation will have the support of the Ministry.