The EU Initiative on the Integrative and Complementary Approach to Counter-Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Western Balkans (WBCTi) was endorsed in the form of Council Conclusions by the Council of the EU at the level of ministers in late 2015, accompanied by a first multi-annual WBCTi Integrative Plan of Action (iPA) for the period 2015-2017.
The Council Conclusions invited EU actors to coordinate and cooperate planned actions in the area of countering Radicalisation leading to Violent Extremism and Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in the Western Balkans in order to effectively identify and fill identified gaps by:
- engaging in a more rational use of resources,
- joining expertise, and
- by creating synergies – as opposed to overlapping of efforts in the region due to a lack of coordination witnessed so far.
The WBCTi originated from the Brdo Process regional ministerial framework chaired by Slovenia, where the ministers of interior/security of the Western Balkan countries had demonstrated a strong and clear political demand for a more coordinated action in this policy field.
Our partners and donors efforts in regional cooperation in WB have successfully been aligned for a 3-year period with the WBCTi iPA 2015-2017, and the approach turned out to be successful in ensuring coordination, alignment and elimination of duplications, while also being rewarded with high support and wide awareness.
On 6th February, the new EU Strategy for the Western Balkans reiterated the importance of the WBCTi in ensuring coherence and synergies of actions.
To expand this approach to other security-related fields, the Council of the EU in December 2015 endorsed the setting-up of the “Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG)”. Besides the WBCTi, the IISG includes two other pillars:
Pillar II addressing Serious Crime (Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative) and Pillar III addressing Border Security (Western Balkan Border Security initiative).
In September 2017, the ministers of the interior/security of the Brdo Process were convened in the framework of the first, inaugural meeting of the IISG Board, supporting body at the highest level. The “IISG Board Kick-Off Meeting” took place at Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, on 8th September. Austria was appointed by the ministers as the Lead Partner of the WBBSi (Pillar III) together with DCAF (Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces) in Ljubljana (DCAF Ljubljana).
The WBBSi iPA 2018-2020 is a living document and it’s published at the IISG/WBBSi web site (http://wbbsi.wb-iisg.com/) after its endorsement. The document is updated on the web site in accordance with its adjustments.