A Regional TAIEX workshop aiming to improve capacities of the Joint Police Cooperation Centre through application of best EU/Schengen practices was held in Trebinje from 17 to 18 May 2017. The workshop was attended by representatives of the BiH Ministry of Security, BiH Border Police, representatives of other two participating countries in the Centre (Serbia and Montenegro), regional police agencies, EU Delegation/EUSR in BiH, and other international organizations and diplomatic missions in BiH.
The EU experts from Finland, Slovenia and Croatia provided presentations on the best EU/Schengen practices being applied in such kind of centres in EU and the region. Besides representatives of BiH, Serbia and Montenegro as ‘host’ countries, relevant agencies from FYROM, Albania and Kosovo* also provided their presentations on working methodologies and challenges all states/institutions face in daily operations of such centres. The audience also discussed and emphasized benefits of the centres in context of fighting all forms of cross-border major and organized crime and efficiency of cooperation between all the countries.
This workshop, along with other events co-organized and supported by the EUSR/EUD in 2016/2017 dedicated to this issue are a clear sign of dedication of the EU Commission and the EUSR/EUD to support local authorities in BiH on their way towards EU accession. Since this workshop is of a regional character, two more TAIEX workshops will be organized in Serbia and Montenegro. The final result of the activities will be more efficient data exchange process, cross-border police cooperation and process of international cooperation.
As a reminder, the Joint Police Cooperation Centre was opened on 24 March 2014 on the basis of the Protocol on Foundation of the Joint Police Cooperation Centre, signed in December 2013 between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. The legal basis for the protocol is the Convention on Police Cooperation in Southeast Europe signed on 5 May 2006 by more regional countries. The purpose of the Centre is to improve cross-border police and customs cooperation between participating countries. The main forms of this cooperation are rapid information exchange and coordination in police and customs investigations in fighting all forms of cross-border major and organised crime. This enables more efficient allocation of human and technical resources of the Border Police to approximately 600 km long border of BiH with Serbia and Montenegro.
It is important to emphasize that cooperation with neighbouring countries and international cooperation in fight against cross-border organized crime is one of the most important elements of the 5-dimensional/4-layer Integrated Border Management concept of the EU introduced in 2006. Its importance was repeatedly emphasized in BiH Country Reports as a critical issue for appropriate border and migration management.