SARAJEVO – The EU-financed twinning project “Strengthening Law Enforcement” saw its first conference on 27 September in Sarajevo. Over the next two years, the project worth 4,5 million euro will aim 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 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. Twinning projects bring together public sector expertise from EU Member States and beneficiary countries through peer to peer activities.
Khaldoun Sinno, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to BiH underlined the importance of rule of law and 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’s accession to the EU, which will ultimately be of benefit to the citizens”, Sinno said.
He has also welcomed the recent signature of the Operational and Strategic Cooperation Agreement between EUROPOL and BiH:
“The 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“, he said.
Further to this, the EU is also supporting the technical capacities of the police 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.
Franz Einziger, Director General of the Section One in the Austrian Federal Ministry of Interior 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”, Einziger said. “Bosnia and Herzegovina 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”, stated Einziger.
BiH Assistant Minister of Security Samir Rizvo reckons that the project will improve security in the country and help to bring law enforcement agencies closer to EU standards.
“All the 20 agencies in the Internal Affairs sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed on the programming process of the project. The common priorities, objectives, measures and actions to be achieved were commonly identified”, Rizvo added.
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.
The EU will soon launch an important complementary twinning project worth EUR 2,5 million 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, it was announced during the conference.
The conference was attended by Aljoša Čampara, FBiH Minister of Interior, Darko Ćulum, Director of Police of the RS, Goran Pisić, Chief of Police of Brčko District BiH, Director Generals of Ministries of Interior from the twining partner countries, representatives of BiH and Entities law enforcement agencies, and the international community.