On 19th April, the Minister of Interior of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Mr. Oliver Spasovski opened the General Assembly of the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA). The meeting was chaired by the Director of the Bureau for Public Security Mr. Lazo Velkovski, and was attended by a high number of international partners and regional mechanisms. The discussions focused on the future of SEPCA among other things, and on its potential joining of forces and cooperation with the IISG (Integrative Internal Security Governance) mechanism, incl. as to its strategic direction toward an ‘IISG policy cycle’. This IISG effort is closely connected and complementary to the EU Policy Cycle, and will continue to seek rational solutions in view of an enhanced engagement of the EU with its neighboring region in the area of combatting Serious and Organised Crime.
SEPCA Chairmanship invited the IISG Chair Mr. Rajko Kozmelj to present potential avenues of cooperation between the IISG and SEPCA. Mr. Kozmelj emphasized that the implementation of the three IISG Integrative Plans of Action for the period 2018-2020 (focusing on Counter-Terrorism and P-CVE, Serious Crime and Border Management, respectively) has been challenging task, but that there remains at the same time a potential prominent and crucial role for the regional police chiefs.
The potential engagement of SEPCA within the IISG policy process, as suggested by Mr. Kozmelj, could be to:
- take over the strategic role in the regional process of determining and acting upon joint priorities in the fight against SOC (‘IISG policy cycle’), in line with EU standards and complementary to the EU Policy Cycle;
- contribute to the process drafting of the periodical IISG Integrative Plans of Action (iPAs), monitoring and reporting, incl. in the phase leading toward their endorsement at the ministerial-level IISG Board Meetings,
- ensuring that the iPAs’ priorities are appropriately reflected in relevant national action plans, and
- raising awareness of challenging issues and obstacles, which may have so far been hindering ground implementation in the regional security cooperation and capacity-building.
Police Chiefs and Heads of Delegations unanimously supported the suggested direction, and recognizes SEPCA as a crucial framework to play an active role in the successful implementation of IISG priorities in addressing security threats and its policy objectives of alignment and coordination, incl. in view of an enhanced engagement between the EU and the Western Balkan region.
The discussion of sustainability was also raised, where SEPCA will further discuss possibilities of making use of suitable existing regional mechanisms to support a rotating Chairmanship in an appropriate manner.
A great majority of SEPCA members supported the Letter of Commitment on the Management Information System (MIS) Report, where SEPCA Member States commit themselves to compile national threat assessments on organised crime and provide Europol with a joint report (not containing personal data or classified information). The consensus was not reached at this time, and the next steps will be further discussed in order to find the most suitable and rational solution.
Please click here to view a document containing a full explanation of the proposed role of SEPCA in the IISG policy process.