Sarajevo, September 28, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
The EU-financed twinning project “Strengthening Law Enforcement” conference was held on Thursday in Sarajevo and the aim is that, over the next two years, to further advance police services and strengthen cooperation, coordination and efficiency of the law enforcement agencies in BiH in the area of fight against organised crime, terrorism and corruption.
The importance of this issue is shown by the fact that the EU will finance the project with EUR 4,5 million. The project is implemented by the consortium led by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Interior and the Agency for European Integration and Economic Development (AEI), in cooperation with the Ministries of Interior of Croatia and Slovenia. The twinning projects bring together public sector expertise from EU Member States and beneficiary countries through peer to peer activities.
Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to BiH, Khaldoun Sinno, at the conference pointed the importance of rule of law and added that the EU’s continued support to this sector.
“An important feature of this project is the international cooperation as well as cooperation between the agencies in BiH. This is in line with the activities of the Reform Agenda and the project is viewed as another step forward in BiH accession to the EU, which will ultimately be of benefit to the citizens”, Sinno said.
He welcomed the recent signature of the Operational and Strategic Cooperation Agreement between EUROPOL and BiH. Sinno said that this Agreement will expand the cooperation in combating cross-border criminal activities by exchanging information, including personal data of suspected criminals, and the joint planning of operational activities.
EU is also supporting the technical capacities of the police agencies in the area of Information and Communication Technologies with supplies worth EUR 1,5 million, intended to improve the IT infrastructure of individual police agencies and increase their capacities to participate in the electronic data exchange system for police and prosecutors.
Director General of the Section One in the Austrian Federal Ministry of Interior, Franz Einziger, emphasised the great significance of the cross-border cooperation in combating organised crime.
“We all know that crime knows no borders and that globalisation of crime is a constant threat. To successfully counter this threat, it is crucial that we unite our efforts. BiH is a very important partner in fighting organised crime and terrorism in the Western Balkans, not only for Austria but for the entire European Union”, Einziger said.
The project will continue to build on the achievements of the law enforcement agencies in BiH in further advancement of the police service and strengthening cooperation and coordination in the area of fight against organized crime, terrorism and corruption, in line with EU professional best practices and acquis, when applicable.
As the EU Delegation to BiH announced on Wednesday during the conference, the EU will soon launch an important complementary twinning project worth 2,5 million Euro in the field of anti-money laundering, with the focus on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, supporting the structures for forfeiture and seizures of criminally gained assets and financial investigation.
The conference was attended by Aljosa Campara, FBiH Minister of Interior, Darko Culum, Director of Police of the RS, Goran Pisic, Chief of Police of Brcko District BiH, Director Generals of Ministries of Interior from the twinning partner countries, representatives of BiH and Entities law enforcement agencies, and the international community.