11th DCAF Ministerial Conference on Border Security in Southeast Europe

Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina - The 11th DCAF Ministerial Conference on Border Security in Southeast Europe successfully concluded on 1 June 2016 at Jahorina, BiH. The conference was opened by the host, H.E.  Mr Dragan Mektić, Minister of Security of BiH, and H.E. Mr Renzo Daviddi, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to BiH. The ministers and other heads of delegations of DCAF Programme Beneficiaries Albania, BiH, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia conducted a thorough review of the progress achieved in the implementation of the DCAF Border Security Programme during 2012-2015. They were joined by the ministers/heads of delegations of supporting/observer parties (Austria, Hungary, Kosovo* and Slovenia), and EU and international partners active in regional border security (Frontex, Europol, EU Delegation in Sarajevo, Office of the High Representative in BiH, NI-CO, RACVIAC-SEE, RCC and the U.S.).

Participants discussed current challenges to their security cooperation, based on their own experiences in dealing with the challenges related to the recent migratory pressures as well as the adapted modi operandi of Organized Criminal Groups active in the region. Ministers agreed that the border security services will continue to play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of citizens, where an integrated approach needs to be achieved in order to achieve an efficient response to occurring security challenges and to ensure steady progress toward EU membership, maximizing the use of available knowledge and resources.

The ministers signed the 'Jahorina Declaration', confirming their strong support for the further goals of the Programme to be developed under the auspices of the Western Balkan Border Security Initiative. The latter is based on an wider initiative proposed by Slovenia at the EU level, a policy model enabling an integrated internal security governance in the region of the Western Balkans. DCAF is mandated to take over the leading role in the pillar relating to border security, and to enter into the preparation of a multi-annual integrated Plan of Action by conducting consultations with all relevant state and non-state actors/donors in this area.

On this occasion, the Beneficiaries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia signed the multilateral agreement on Joint Return Flights to extra-regional countries of origin as well as the multilateral agreement enabling the full use of the "Border Sentry" system for data exchange and early warning system, both thus entering into force. As Montenegro and Serbia had already executed the necessary adoption procedures, they will be able to sign both agreements immediately after the obtainment of signing authorizations.