By Medina Malagić – Sarajevo
From 1 July, BiH will share a border with the EU, which represents a huge challenge for the BIH Border Police, but this date will not bring any dramatic and unexpected situations, announced today in Sarajevo the Deputy Director of the BiH Border Police Enes Gačanin.
At a conference for journalists devoted to the assessment of the readiness of BiH to become a border country of the EU on 1 July, Gačanin said that after this date all citizens would still be able to legally and safely cross the border.
“The BiH Border Police and other law enforcement agencies in BiH underwent extensive preparations for 1 July, when BiH will begin to share around 1.000 kilometers of a border with a new member of the EU’’, said Gačanin.
He added that preparations of the border police for new conditions of control and integrated border management is supported by the EU with a number of projects, among which is the “EU support of the implementation of the rule of law’’, and whose activities are connected to the development of the Strategy and Action Plan of the border police, proposing changes in the legislation that governs the work of these agencies, coordinating activities with other projects operating in the same area and providing training on the implementation of strategic documents, as well as current and future Schengen practices.
Gačanin emphasized the excellent cooperation of the border police, as well as other law enforcement agencies in BiH with the relevant Croatian authorities and institutions at all levels in terms of preventing cross-border crime.
He warned that the Western Balkans, including BiH, will continue to be a risky area in the area of illegal migration and various forms of cross-border crime, including human trafficking, narcotics, high excise goods and weapons.
The head of the project “EU support of the implementation of the rule of law’’ Karl Lesjak said that this program represents an excellent example of practical support that the EU lends BIH, because it provides an answer to real needs and provides assistance in the implementation of operational best practices protecting the border.
“The European concept of integrated border management means, on the one hand, open borders for trade and movement of people, and on the other hand, closing the borders for all criminal activities’’, explained Lesjak.
He thanked the professional and responsible work of the BiH Border Police in the current period.
Long-term IPA 2010 expert Branko Celar said that in the past few weeks a series of trainings for future trainers from the area of the best EU and Schengen practices in several BiH cities has been conducted, and the last one was completed in Sarajevo on 19 June.
“As a result, the BiH Border Police will have 160 trained instructors with the acquired knowledge in the field of strategic planning, as well as current and future Schengen practices and with a plan to train an additional 1.600 officials by December’’, stressed Celar.
The project “EU support of the implementation of the rule of law’’, for which the EU provided 7 million euros through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance/IPA 2010 began on 2 May last year and will last until 30 April of next year.
Consortium partners on the project are the Ministry for Internal Affairs of Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and German state of Brandenburg, and the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and Transparency International BiH, as an associate.
Partners, beneficiaries of the project are BiH agencies for law enforcement at the BiH state level, as well as at the entity, cantonal and Brčko District level.