Meeting of the Border Police Chiefs

Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia - A regular meeting of the Border Police Chiefs from the Western Balkan countries was held at Brdo pri Kranju in Slovenia from 4–6 September 2013, organized by DCAF Ljubljana under the auspices of the Border Security Programme. Several activities were held together with the PCC SEE Meeting of National Police Directors that was held in Slovenia in the same week. The Border Police Chiefs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, a representative of Austria, and DCAF Ljubljana, discussed the progress and further needs and opportunities in the area of Schengen Integration, Education and Training for border police and Common and Coordinated Measures. The Border Police Chiefs, in their strategic and monitoring role, agreed on the contribution of the DCAF Programme to the common regional approach in mitigating negative consequences of irregular migration flows in the Western Balkan region, as well as the planned future initiative to be presented to the European Commission. They fully supported the conclusion of the two future multilateral agreements to be negotiated and signed as soon as possible – i.e. the agreement enabling the use and functioning of the Border Sentry application for data management in developing risk analysis and an early warning system, and the agreement on conducting joint return flights to third countries of origin.

The participants also had the opportunity to visit the Slovenian Police Command and Control Centre coordinating police security measures at the Eurobasket Championship 2013 currently taking place in Slovenia. During this ongoing major sports event, we are witnessing the common activity of the Western Balkan police services under the auspices of the DCAF Programme, namely a Common Operation at two Slovenian border crossing points (Obrežje and Gruškovje). The legal basis for the organization of the common operation is the Police Cooperation Convention in Southeast Europe as well as the national legal frameworks. The results of the Operations will be provided continuously by the Slovenian Police, and will also be covered by the local and international media.

The multi-layered benefits of the series of region-wide common and coordinated measures conducted through 2012/2013 under the DCAF Programme were especially emphasised by the Border Police Chiefs. Namely, the great breakthroughs in cross-border cooperation on a regional level to combat all forms of cross-border crime also contributed a significant training component to their mutual cooperation, as well as mutual trust, new mutual working experiences and – via high media coverage – a very positive impact on the general population. They hoped that the Operations would continue in 2014 on an even more frequent basis.