Annual Meeting of the DCAF Schengen Integration Task Force at Strategic Level
Schengen, Luxembourg - Between 27–29 November 2013, the annual Meeting of the DCAF Schengen Integration Task Force at Strategic Level took place in the village of Schengen, Luxembourg, under the auspices of the DCAF Border Security Programme. The event was attended by Albania, BiH, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Frontex, Council General Secretariat, UNDP and DCAF. The event was chaired by Mr Ivan Bizjak, DCAF Leading Expert. State Secretaries and Heads of EU Integration Services as well as Border Police Chiefs addressed two important topics - acquiring EU funding in the pre-accession phase, and asylum challenges in the Western Balkan region. Participants exchanged experiences and good practices in the acquiring and benefitting from the existing IPA financing instrument of the European Commission. They agreed on important conclusions regarding further mutual cooperation, support and common strategic guidance in obtaining funds from the future IPA II. Participants were familiarized with the most recent experiences of the Croatian MoI and lessons learned. The panel on asylum provided the exchange of experience and good practices of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior. Further needs and areas of activity were agreed under the auspices of the Programme, ensuring complementarity with other relevant actors. A lecture on the history of the Schengen Area was given by Mr Charles Elsen, one of the negotiators of the Schengen Agreement signed in the Village of Schengen in 1985 and the former Director-General for Justice and Home Affairs at the Council of the EU.