Fight against organised crime and corruption
Organised crime is a worldwide problem; to tackle it, strong international cooperation is required. In the Western Balkans, countries need to build the appropriate structures and experience to investigate and prosecute complex criminal groups in an international context. In response to this situation, the European Union is helping the Western Balkans take action – starting with joint investigations via two multi-country projects on the Fight Against Organised Crime and Corruption.
The two projects on the Fight Against Organised Crime and Corruption: 'the Prosecutors' Network of the Western Balkans' and; 'Police co-operation in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, and Serbia', both aim to prevent and combat serious and trans-border organised crime and linked corruption. They focus on cases with cross-border implications, and aim to dismantle criminal organisations involved in illicit trafficking destined to the EU, in particular trafficking of firearms, drugs and human beings.
The results of the first phase include:
- The creation of Joint Working Groups
Prosecutors and policemen from EU Member States are seconded to the region in order to provide their counterparts with ongoing advisory services, with a focus on investigating and prosecuting cross-border cases of organised crime. They co-operate in 'Joint Working Groups' and are focusing on ongoing and upcoming investigations in the region. In this they will benefit from each other's contacts, information sources, tools and instruments. This will not only facilitate the work within the countries, but in particular between the countries and with EU Member States. Likewise, they will involve other projects funded from the 'Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance', like the regional 'Witness Protection Programme' but also national projects aimed at fighting crime.
- Access to International Networks
Europol and Eurojust (including the European Judiciary Network in Criminal Matters) are closely associated to the projects, while Interpol is a partner in the 'Police project'. All beneficiary countries are already linked up to Europol via the secure information exchange system SIENA used by international law enforcement coordination offices, and police liaison officers of foreign countries in the region. These sources will be used to strengthen the investigations so that the prosecution can assure a successful follow-up after the arrest of criminals. The strong involvement of EU Member States via Europol and Eurojust will build the necessary trust and confidence on both sides in their day-to-day work.