Ministers of Interior/Security from the Western Balkan countries discussed the WBCTi Interim Report at the EU-WB Ministerial Meeting under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU held at Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, between 15 –16 December 2016. The document outlines the main achievements in the 1st year of implementation based on the objectives identified in late 2014. The achievements outlined clearly show how the activities on part of all WBCTi partners, including those of EU Member States and EU agencies, directed toward the joint set of objectives, have contributed to the optimization of resulting outcomes and bring synergies.
On 29 – 30 November 2017, the Slovenian Chairmanship-in-Office of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), and the Western Balkans Counter-Terrorism Initiative (WBCTi) will be organizing the Second Regional Coordination Conference for Counter-Terrorism (CT) and Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in South East Europe (SEE). The later represents a functional follow-up of the first Regional CT and P/CVE Coordination Conference, held in Tirana on 11 November 2016.
The purpose of this high level event is to engage relevant actors and stakeholders in the area of counter-terrorism, prevention and countering violent extremism in South East Europe in general, and the Western Balkans in particular. Participants will therefore be encouraged to discuss, share their experiences, and best practices.
In complaint with the WBCTi Process, the conference will be divided in separate session for the three SEE regional CT and P/CVE networks, namely the RCC Group of National Focal Points for Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism in South East Europe (NFP P/CVE Group), PCC SEE CT Network, representing strategic level of cooperation and the Counter- Terrorism Initiative (CTI) which represents operational cooperation on the CT/P-CVE policy in the region.
The event will take place in Slovenia, hosted by the Slovenian Ministry of Home Affairs.
On 26-27 October 2017 the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with kind support of Bulgaria and in close cooperation with European Commission, organised the annual EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs in Sofia, Bulgaria. The event stressed the importance of cooperation between the European Union and the Western Balkans region in the fields of justice and home affairs, and emphasised the topics of justice reform, judicial cooperation, migration and border management, counter-terrorism and radicalisation, as well as fight against firearms trafficking.
On 14th September, Mr Filip de Ceuninck, EU regional CT adviser, EU Delegation to BiH, hosted a CT and P/CVE coordination meeting in the EU House in Sarajevo. The meeting convened regional CT-P/CVE-Security advisors in the Western Balkan region and other representatives of the following WBCTi partners: Ministry of Security BiH, IOM, Foreign & Commonwealth Office U.K., Embassies of Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K., USAID, NI-CO/WINPRO Project, UNDP, RCC, EUFOR, EEAS, Office of the EU CTC, the European Commission – DG NEAR and DG HOME, and DCAF Ljubljana. The event was organised in close cooperation with the Rule of Law Section, EUSR Office in Sarajevo.
The discussion was mainly focused on new developments and approaches to issues of CT and P/CVE in the Western Balkans. The newly appointed IISG Chair, Mr Rajko Kozmelj (represented also WBCTi Lead Partners DCAF Ljubljana, Austria and Slovenia) gave a presentation of the IISG Board Kick-Off Meeting results and WBCTi developments and its state-of-play. He emphasised the strategic importance and impact that the IISG Board conclusions of 8 Sep 2017 would bear for the internal security and regional cooperation policies. He also presented to the participants the first list of draft priorities for the new WBCTi iPA 2018-2019 and invited again all partners to contribute to the draft list of needs as we are currently developing it into the first draft iPA 2018-2019 and preparing the next phases of needs assessment.
The WBCTi partners provided their priorities related to their planned P/CVE activities and their importance and links with national CT policies. Participants recognised the importance of establishing the “P-R-A” Mechanism and inclusion of existing Referral Mechanism pilot results into the comprehensive P-R-A solution. It is also important to create further synergies between these two important efforts. BiH authorities expressed a strong commitment to achieving synergic action and presented on their plans to establish “P-R-A” Mechanism. Representatives of Ministry of Security, Mr Samir Rizvo, Assistant Minister and Mr Mario Janeček, CT Adviser, invited WBCTi to support them in this challenging endeavour. In this regard, the sharing of information via WBCTi platforms and its website tools for coordination of activities is crucial, with the support of the EU regional CT adviser.
The third focus was placed on the necessity for the coordination among all WBCTi partners in planning and implementing CT and P/CVE actions in the WB region from now on, where the coordination role of the EU regional CT adviser Mr de Ceuninck and the role of the WBCTi Lead Partners (DCAF Ljubljana, Austria and Slovenia) was highly appreciated.
Participants agreed to meet twice per year or more often whenever necessary, in order to contribute to the future implementation and monitoring of the new WBCTi iPA 2018-2019. Meetings will be convened by the EU regional CT adviser in close cooperation with WBCTi Lead Partners.
The Slovenian-led ministerial regional framework in the area of internal security called the Brdo Process will host the 1st meeting of the IISG Board, the highest-level decision-making body within the future IISG implementation process. The meeting will officially “kick off” the process of IISG implementation.
The ministers of the interior/security of IISG Beneficiaries represented in the IISG Board will appoint relevant actors with the leading roles in the IISG three-pillar structure, appoint the IISG Chair and endorse the IISG Terms of Reference. The European Commission and DCAF Ljubljana will present on the state-of-play in the implementation of the IISG 1st pillar (WBCTi) and on other current developments.
The event also convenes all IISG Partners – relevant international, regional actors as well as EU agencies, institutions and interested Member States (who are not member states of the Brdo Process).
WBCTi Chairmanship is attending the Expert Working Group meeting, a regular session of the senior decision-making body within the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE), taking place between 23 – 24 June 2017 in Bucharest, Romania. Mr. Rajko Kozmelj will present the progress in implementing the WBCTi as well as the state-of-play in developing the concept of Integrative Internal Security Governance.
Between 17th – 18th May 2017, DCAF, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and the Slovenian Ministry of Interior – Police are co-organising an important regional conference, which will bring together senior policy-makers from law enforcement and intelligence, academics and relevant international and regional security actors in the area of CT and P/CVE policy in the Western Balkans. The conference will identify requirements to improve CT and P/CVE policies in the Western Balkans, and recommend priorities for the next multi-annual WBCTi Integrated Plan of Action that will enter into force in early 2018, based on Beneficiaries needs and relevant threat assessments.
For more information on the Conference, please see: CT – PCVE Conference AAR May 2017
The Meeting of the Informal Working Group on WBCTi (meeting under the auspices of the Council of the EU Terrorism Working Party for the 12th time) will be hosted by the Slovenian Permanent Representation to the EU. The meeting will be chaired by Slovenia and Austria. It will review progress in the WBCTi iPA 2015–2017 implementation and introduce future steps, incl. the preparation of the next multi-annual iPA. The event is attended by EU Member States, Western Balkan countries’ Missions to the EU, European Commission, EU agencies, the US, Turkey and DCAF and the WBCTi Chairmanship.
The informal Brdo Process Ministerial Meeting took place between 18–19 April 2016 at Brdo at Kranj, Slovenia. At the conference the ministers discussed the progress in implementing the Western Balkan Counter-Terrorism Initiative (WBCTi), and expressed the need to gradually expand the approach to the fight against serious and organized crime and border management in the Western Balkan region. Another topic of discussion was the migratory crisis in the region, in particular the needs that have to be addressed in case of massive migrant pressure. In parallel to the Brdo Process meeting, the ministers gathered at the opening conference of the “First Line – practitioners dealing with radicalisation issues”, an EU-financed counter-radicalisation initiative modelled upon the EU RAN Centre of Excellence and aimed at establishing national RAN-like platforms in the Western Balkan countries.
On 8th December 2015, the EU-Western Balkans Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Ministerial Forum in its Home Affairs meeting endorsed the Integrative Plan of Action (iPA) 2015-2017 of the Western Balkan Counter-Terrorism initiative (WBCTi).