On 14th September, the IISG Chair Mr Rajko Kozmelj and Mr Thomas Herko, Head of PCC SEE Secretariat/Lead Partner in IISG 2nd pillar, met with Ms Catherine de Bolle, Executive Director of Europol, and Mr Brian Donald, head of the Executive Director’s cabinet in the premises of DCAF Ljubljana. Europol is a strong partner in IISG, and potential further venues of contribution of Europol in the ongoing efforts of IISG and its Western Balkan partners were discussed. The meeting also reviewed the concrete results of the efforts in the recent years, resulting in enhanced operational and strategic cooperation between the Western Balkan and EU partners via Europol within WBCTi (Western Balkan Counter-Terrorism Initiative), such as the established links between Europol National Units (ENUs) in the Western Balkans and their national CT units.
Newly agreed synergies are to be developed together, bearing relevance especially for the IISG 2nd pillar (Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime Initiative), and for a further alignment in terms of EU-WB joint engagement and strategic planning. Both partners recognised the necessity of continued close mutual cooperation and promotion in the future. Ms de Bolle also welcomed the support of the IISG to the deployment of the Europol Liaison Officers to the region through the IPAII2017 Multi-Country Action, and the recent convening of WB national P-CVE coordinators.