21.06.2023, 12:34

23rd Meeting of the PCC SEE Committee of Ministers

Bucharest, 21 June 2023 - Under the auspices of the Romanian PCC SEE Chairmanship-in-Office, the PCC SEE Committee of Ministers convened for the 23rd time in its statutory capacity of the highest PCC SEE decision-making body in the presence of observers from the European Commission Directorate-General for Informatics, CEPOL, EUROJUST, EUROPOL, FRONTEX, German Federal Police, DCAF, EUCARIS Secretariat, ICMPD, IISG Secretariat, IOM, JCP, RAI Secretariat, and SELEC.

 The Committee of Ministers addressed complex topics related to the fight against migrant smuggling along the Western Balkan route and the impact of the war in Ukraine on police cooperation. The discussion underlined the persisting need for intensified cooperation and coordination between all actors involved, including an enhanced cooperation with the supporting EU agencies and other international/regional organizations, particularly in terms of the cross-border cooperation related to illegal immigration and smuggling of migrants. It is of paramount importance to strengthen border controls, make use of all available EU instruments, take part in joint actions within the multidisciplinary EMPACT platform, perform joint investigations and establish joint investigation teams, create early warning mechanisms, intensify exchange of information, implement continuous and joint trainings of law enforcement and judicial authorities and further intensify their cooperation, as well as develop medium and long-term action plans backed by necessary resources. Moreover, the war in Ukraine has changed the way of police cooperation, making it necessary to adapt to the patterns of organized crime networks, which are becoming increasingly creative in their ways of operating. Combating trafficking in migrants, human beings, drugs and firearms, countering disinformation, hybrid threats and terrorism in this extremely difficult context require measures that the PCC SEE Contracting Parties implement on an ongoing basis and strive to boraden and strengthen through closer links on bilateral and regional level.

The Committee of Ministers further acknowledged the developments in the implementation of the PCC Prüm Agreement. The practical implementation of this framework will bring a new dimension to the PCC SEE Contracting Parties’ operational results, by utilising the EU Prüm methodology in the PCC SEE region years before all its signatories have acceded to the European Union. The Committee of Ministers encouraged all non-EU PCC SEE Contracting Parties to take the necessary steps in establishing a connection to the TESTA network, a technical prerequisite to carry out the automatic operational exchange of DNA, dactyloscopic and vehicle registration data, and acknowledge the progress already made in Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia in this respect.

The Committee of Ministers and DCAF expressed sincere gratitude to Mr. Karl Lesjak for his diligent leadership of the PCC SEE Secretariat, dedication and invaluable contribution to the strategic development under the PCC SEE umbrella, and congratulated him on his retirement. The Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Austria arenewed its commitment to continue supporting the PCC SEE and PCC Prüm implementation process with a timely secondment of a new Head of the PCC SEE Secretariat. 

Chaired by Slovenia from 01 January to 30 June 2024 / Next Chairmanship (1 July - 31 December 2024) by Albania