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Press Releases

05.05.2006

Prokop: Partnership for security agreed between EU and third countries

First step: Partnership for security EU/Western Balkans – Police Cooperation Convention in South East Europe and Vienna Declaration adopted

 

"Today we agreed a partnership for security between the EU and interested third countries with over 50 states and organisations, and this is already taking concrete shape in the Western Balkans", Interior Minister Liese Prokop said today, Friday. At the International Conference on Internal Security on 4 and 5 May 2006 in Vienna, the 'Vienna Declaration on security partnership' was adopted and a Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe together with a number of other documents signed. "Such a broad dialogue between the EU and third countries on a common security concept is unprecedented, and I am pleased that it has come about under the Austrian Presidency", Prokop said.

Ministers from the following regions took part in the discussions at the conference: EU, acceding and candidate countries, the countries of the Western Balkans and of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Russian Federation and the USA. "The 'Vienna Declaration on security partnership' forms the basis for specific security partnerships between the EU and third countries. It contains common goals, principles and sets out the content of cooperation", Prokop explained.

On this basis, an EU cooperation strategy for the Western Balkans is to be drawn up by the end of the Austrian Presidency. "With the signing today of the Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe, we have already taken a major step towards an EU – Western Balkans partnership." The signatories to the convention are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.

The negotiations on the Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe began on Austria’s initiative back in summer 2005. "We supported the countries participating in these negotiations with our know-how and with assistance from experts and practitioners from the Interior Ministry. Austria thus helped get this convention off the ground", Prokop said. Germany, Europol, the Stability Pact for South East Europe and the Austrian Development Agency also provided support.

“This Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe achieves three aims: firstly, enhanced cooperation in South East Europe in the fight against organised crime, drug trafficking, trafficking of human beings and corruption; secondly, more security in the region and for the European Union; thirdly, a basis for the partnership for security between the EU and the Balkan countries”, Prokop said.

The Balkan countries would thus be brought much closer to the (Schengen) standards for police cooperation in the EU, “which will make police cooperation with them much easier in future. Cooperation procedures that are standard in the EU will also apply to police cooperation in the Western Balkans: mutual exchange of information, joint investigation teams and strengthening of cross-border cooperation in observation, pursuit and controlled delivery”, she concluded.

 

Date: 05.05.2006