06.05.2011, 08:44

The Changing Face of Organized Crime in South Eastern Europe: Trends and Developments

On 2-4 May 2011 in Zagreb in Croatia, The Changing Face of Organized Crime in South Eastern Europe: Trends and Developments Conference was organised by SECI Centre and RACVIAC. The audience and speakers from SECI Centre / RACVIAC MAG member countries (officials at decision-making level and experts representing relevant institutions dealing with the activity’s subject matter), as well as observers, associate and partner countries, international organizations and NGOs attended the conference.
Looking back at the last 10 years, we may conclude that the beginning of the new millennium has brought a new understanding and perception of ways and approaches to combating trans-border organized crime. The new era has also seen the prevalence of the "free but secure" concept of trade. In light of these new approaches, concepts and developments, law enforcement agencies, such as customs authorities, the police and organized crime departments, have been involved in the process of revision and reorganization of their administrative structures with a view to increasing their administrative and technical capacities and improving national, regional and international cooperation. Furthermore, the multi-agency cooperation has risen in importance as well.

The SECI Regional Center for Combating Transborder Crime provides an outstanding background to the regional multilateral cooperation in fighting organized crime in SEE. Its evolution to a new, highly dynamic regional law enforcement organization “SELEC” represents the SEE countries’ readiness to adapt their security and safety international cooperation mechanisms to the above mentioned challenges. Both SECI Center and RACVIAC, Centre for Security Cooperation with the mission to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters in South East Europe, recognise the necessity of building a more open, transparent and stable environment in the region by encouraging exchanges of information, views and ideas.

The purpose of the Conference was to serve as a forum for open and constructive discussion on joint cross-border cooperation among SEE countries in tackling organized crime threats which endanger the overall security of the region and hinder economic growth and development opportunities. It will provide a broader platform for sharing information and best practices, supporting in that way the capacity building of SEE countries in synchronizing their counteraction against organized crime new trends and evolution, through upgraded international law enforcement cooperation.

The objectives were:
- To depict the regional dimension of organized crime threat as a serious obstacle to development and security of the region, assessing the national characteristics of each
country involved
- To highlight the national policies of SEE countries on tackling organised crime which,
by increasingly transcending national boundaries, represents one of the major threats
to security and therefore requires coordinated action at the international level
- To identify legislative needs and challenges within the context of a more effective
approach to fighting organized crime
- To share experiences and best practices in police, customs and inter-governmental
support in countering organized crime throughout South East Europe.