1. The project "Cooperation Southeast Danube Region" intends to integrate the successful South-East Task Force for Fighting Drug Trafficking (AG Südost) as a project under the EUSDR. The "AG Südost" developed a standardised search system to investigate methods of drugs trafficking by motor vehicle, which has been implemented in the investigation procedures of national police forces. The project will start in January 2014 with a kick-off conference. In addition to all in all three conferences it is intended to carry out a transnational exercise.
2. The regional conference on the challenges in the fight against trafficking in human beings and the joint efforts of the countries from the Danube Region, held in October 2012, was organised jointly by the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the Commission on Trafficking in Human Beings with the Council of Ministers. Eight countries from the Danube Region took part: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Modova, Romania, Serbia, Hngary and Croatia as well as Bulgarian institutions working on the problem. The beginning of an exchange of ideas was set on the opportunities without duplicating efforts to develop projects with added value especially for the cooperation in the region.
3. High Level Meeting: Danube Security Conference (DSC) At the invitation of the Bavarian State Minister of the Interior, Mr Joachim Herrmann, the Interior Ministers of the member states of the EUSDR convened for the Danube Security Conference in Munich on 6 - 7 May 2013. Eleven Danube countries were represented at the conference by their ministers, deputy-ministers and/or high-level professional manager, Europol, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the German Bundestag and Hanns-Seidel-Foundation also participated.
The objective of this first meeting of Interior Ministers within the framework of the Danube Region Strategy was to provide a forum for the members to take stock of the achievements made in PA 11, to define new challenges, to initiate further actions and projects for the protection and security of the people in the Danube Region and to pool existing resources.
In the last two years, the police chiefs of the Danube Region countries have already made the fight against drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and corruption to a priority of their joint efforts. At their conference in Munich, the Ministers stressed that these key issues need to be constantly reviewed, adapted and further developed.
Moreover, the conference signalled the addition of cybercrime to the list of priorities of the Danube Region Strategy. The planned cybercrime symposium to be held in Stuttgart in October 2013 is considered as a first step towards establishing a network of Danube region agencies competent in fighting cybercrime.
At the end of the conference the ministers adopted a final communique expressing their political will to increase cooperation between their countries in order to promote the security of the people in the Danube region.
Target 2: Effective co-operation between relevant law enforcement actors by 2015 Action: Strengthening the law enforcement cooperation through contact centres.
1. “Second Round Table on Setting up Coordination Centre(s) for Border Police Cooperation/ Networking of Existing Centres under Priority Area 11 “Security” of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region” – 28-29 May 2013, Sofia
The following countries and organisations were present at the meeting: Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and EUBAM.
Bulgaria presented the Black Sea Cooperation Forum and the Black Sea Border Cooperation and Information Centre in Burgas, as a useful example for permanent and secure platform for real-time exchange of information between the participating states, contributing to the efficient control on vessels, crews and passengers, as well as for guaranteeing the free movement of vessels.
Hungary presented the progress in the implementation of the Project Danube Law Enforcement Forum and the Coordination Centre in Mohács. The implementation of the third stage of the project – Setting-up the structure of the Danube Law Enforcement Forum - will start with a kick-off conference on 17-18th September 2013. A Final Communique is to be adopted there by which the delegations formally declare their cooperation in the project. During the implementation of the project two technical workshops and three joint operations on the Danube River are to be organised. The final conference on the project will be held in April 2015.
Austria presented development of the PORIS project. It is necessary to clarify legal and technical conditions for PORIS to become a transnational system for exchange of information between the states along the Danube River. There are protocols signed (bilateral, international) which enable the countries to avoid the differences in legislation.
Conclusions of the meeting:
The focuses of cooperation were outlined – enhanced exchange of information with possibilities for preventing actions, the so called early-warning system, as well as coordinating joint activities and performing joint operations.
Important challenges were mapped out – finding out the appropriate form for organising our cooperation, possibilities for establishing contact points / using existing ones, establishing environment for communication and video conference connection.
The way ahead:
Countries will decide on their interest and possibilities to join the project. The work in the thematic groups of the forum needs to start as soon as possible, so that until the closing conference of the Danube Forum project in April 2015 a decision of all countries will be taken on the framework and content of future cooperation in the Danube Forum. There is a need to clarify how to unite the ideas on establishing the network of contact points so that each country can draw greatest possible added value for itself and in the same time achieve maximum synergy of the efforts of all countries.
Action: To develop a further well-functioning system of border control and a document inspection management
An e-ID symposium will be held in Budapest in spring 2014 where requirements and experience will be exchanged on this topic. Three generic aspects will be in the focus:
· The point of view of real benefits (expected by citizens)
· The point of view of technical security of e-ID solutions
· The question of where the e-ID function will be placed (on a public ID document such as the ID card or on a separate one).
The countries of the Danube Region are invited to exchange experiences and requirements regarding these issues.
Target 3: Promoting the rule of law - assistance for participating countries by deepening and promoting the idea of rule of law and strengthening and developing further democratic structures. Promoting (legal) certainty for the people by fighting against corruption.
Action: European Anti-Corruption Training
EACT aims to develop best practice models through the exchange of expertise of its participants, mostly with the help of case studies, to ensure efficient and flexible future international cooperation on operative levels in corruption cases. Three working groups were established (Investigation and Prosecution, Prevention and International Cooperation) in the project framework.
Besides the other regular participant states, the Slovakian National Anti-Corruption Agency NACA and the Slovenian Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) as well as the latter’s Ministry of the Interior’s National Investigation Bureau (NPU) are specific partners within the Austrian-led project. While the Austrian side is organizing 5 working group meetings on the topic on “Investigation and Prosecution”, Slovenia is responsible for the 5 sessions on “Prevention” and Slovakia is in charge of 5 further meetings on “International Cooperation”.
Austria organized since June 2012 three working group meetings in autumn of the same year, as well as in January and June 2013 dealing with specific topics such as “Security Management in the Field of Anti-Corruption: Recruitment of Personnel, Need-To-Know Principle, Access Control, Protection against System Failure”, “Cloud Computing”, “Money Laundering” or “Tax Fraud”. Slovakia again lately administrated three meetings on topics such as “Joint Investigation Teams” or the general evaluation of best practices. The Slovenian partners in the same period held four meetings on issues as “Accessing, using and linking of existing official database”, “Whistle-blower Protection”, "Education and Awareness Raising and Education Programmes for Children and Youth".
In October 2013 the final conference will be held in Slovenia. At this occasion the results of the discussions will be published as best practices in the form of a manual for further use and application.
Action: Rule of law. Implementing a comprehensive and integrated approach in prevention and fight against corruption.
As a follow-up of the kick-off conference on the project (21-22 May 2012, Pravetz, Bulgaria), three international workshops were conducted.
1. Seminar on Prevention of conflict of interests (28-29 June 2012, Sofia)
The following countries participated: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, and Slovenia. The following institutions and commissions joined the seminar: Transparency International, Berlin; Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Bucharest; EUROPOL.
Different European models of prevention and ascertainment of conflict of interest were presented, evaluated and discussed during the seminar.
2. Seminar on Criminal and Civil Assets Forfeiture (3-6 October, Fischbachau, Bavaria)
During the seminar in Fischbachau, legislation and national case studies in the field were presented by the representatives of Bavaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova and Serbia. In-depth thematic discussions were held on the strong and weak aspects of the relevant policies, and recommendations for better institutional coordination enhanced international co-operation and more educational measures were made.
The following important conclusions were drawn:
- Optimisation and improving the practice with regard to forfeiture of assets acquired through criminal activity in the countries from the Danube Region. For this purpose the experience and the good practices of German model could be used;
- The necessity to achieve better coherence and inter-institutional coordination was established;
- Training and improving qualification of staff with competence in the field was said to be very important element;
- Transborder cooperation is also considered of significant importance. Acquaintance with the legal systems of the different countries, as well as with the implemented methods for forfeiture of assets acquired through criminal activities, provide a broader view to the experts.
3. Seminar on Addressing Organized Crime – Corruption Nexus(27 Feb–1 March 2013, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria)
Representatives of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia and federal provinces Bavaria and Baden – Württemberg took part in the seminar. The participating countries have been given the opportunity to present their legislation and to share some good examples from their own practice. On the ground of the presentations and discussions a clearer view and common understanding of the link between the two phenomena was achieved, while systems and practices for finding such possible links were identified. The added value of the seminar`s work was also the encouragement of common approaches in prevention and the fight against the link between organised crime and corruption.
Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg and the Centre for the Study of the Democracy participated actively in this event. The representatives of Max Plank institute presented the study “Fighting corruption in the Danube region - an overview of potential capabilities and limits of national anti-corruption measures”, whichshall be presented together with a joint document during the closing conference of the project.
At the end of March 2013 the Max Planck Institute distributed a Questionnaire on Corruption Prevention and Control with the aim to provide for drafting a comprehensive and thorough analysis in the framework of the study.
The results of the workshops and the scientific expertise will outline the strategic directions for further development of the cooperation in prevention of and fight against corruption in the Danube region.