More than 100 experts from the European Union were engaged in the two-year EU-funded twinning project “Strengthening Law Enforcement” to assist BiH authorities in their fight against terrorism, organised crime and corruption.
The project implemented by Austrian, Slovenian and Croatian EU Member States Consortium was focused on the major challenges law enforcement in BiH are facing, including the effective fight against organised crime, terrorism and corruption, strengthening coordination between the police and prosectors, as well as regional and international police cooperation.
The project’s final conference on 5 June in Sarajevo brought together high-level officials of the BiH law enforcement, representatives of the EU Delegation to BiH, members of the implementing Consortium, international organisations, as well as experts that participated in the project.
Head of the Rule of Law Section at the Office of the EU Special Representative in BiH Richard Wood stated at the conference that the project has met its objectives.
“To advance impact beyond the end of the project, the EU will closely monitor follow-up progress through the sustainability plan drafted in cooperation with the beneficiaries. The EU remains committed to supporting BiH partners through regular peer reviews, TAIEX events conducted by EU Member States experts, and complementary EU projects, while the relevant BiH Law Enforcement authorities should be in the driving seat”, Wood said.
With more than 330 activities since June 2016 notable results were achieved in different areas. Police and prosecutors, among others, have been provided with a capacity plan to strengthen the fight against new forms of crime. Guidelines have been prepared to regulate the important matter of liaisons’ deployment to international police organisations such as EUROPOL.
Integrity plans for improving the institutional capacity to fight corruption within the agencies have been developed while public consultation principles were drafted to increase the involvement of all citizens in drafting security-related laws.
Austrian Ambassador to BiH Martin Pammer reminded this was the third project in the field of rule of law implemented hand-in-hand with the BiH colleagues, and funded by the EU.
“This testifies to our general commitment to support the strengthening of the rule of law in BiH as the essential precondition for further social and economic development, as well as its integration into the EU. I hope key phrases of the project – commitment, coordination, close inter-agency cooperation, mutual trust and understanding, as well as information sharing and exchange – remain crucial elements in the further development of the rule of law”, said Pammer.
Assistant Minister of Security of BiH Samir Rizvo underlined that the involvement of beneficiaries in all of the project phases is worth noting.
“Taking full ownership of the project has proven to be an excellent concept of work. This not only provided a direct response to the identified needs, but also laid down the sustainability plan to follow in order to progress further towards the EU policing standards. Everyday security challenges represent a constant reminder to us all to continuously keep improving capacities and capabilities in the fight against crime, as well as strengthening cooperation within and outside borders“, Rizvo said.
The Project “Strengthening Law Enforcement” is funded by the European Union in the amount of EUR 4.5 million with the aim to further advance police service and strengthen cooperation, coordination and efficiency in the fight against organized crime, terrorism and corruption. This project is 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