Speech by Holger Schroeder, Chargé d’Affaires a.i of the EU Delegation to BiH

24 April 2014, BiH Parliament, Sarajevo

Dear Ministers, distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to stand here today, two years after we have launched this ambitious project and to be able to call it a success.

The EU Support to Law Enforcement Project was launched as the first major capacity building and knowledge transfer project in the area of home affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of course it built on the EU’s past and long standing engagement in the sector. Yet there was a new emphasis to our engagement. First, the orientation was squarely towards the country’s European future and the need to move towards meeting EU standards in the areas of Justice and Security. And second, the emphasis was to agree on priorities and to deliver results via a true partnership.   

I believe the project has met these ambitions, and I believe many aspects of project implementation can be considered as examples of good practice!

So let me thank the more than 21 Law Enforcement Agencies as well as the Ministries of Interior and of Security who were the beneficiaries of this project. They have displayed full ownership and a cooperative and professional approach.

Let me also thank Austria as the lead Member State – as well as its partners – Hungary, Slovenia, ICMPD, the Police Academy of Brandenburg and Transparency International – for the excellent support that they have provided to the Project.

Indeed 250 local and international experts were involved to develop and implement up to 500 activities of various formats and across a total of ten components. And as a result, progress was made on the three priority fields of the project: fighting organised crime and corruption, strengthening regional and international cooperation, and reinforcing police and justice cooperation.  

Let me now mention a few results that were achieved:
For the first time, the law enforcement agencies drafted the first Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) in BiH, in line with the Europol methodology. Experts from all law enforcement agencies were pooled to jointly work on strategic and operational analysis. Such co-operation is at the heart of how complex crime is tackled, and we believe that this experience will be replicated by more regular exchanges of intelligence between agencies in the future.

The project also prepared the ground for criminals losing the proceeds of crime and has done so by presenting minimum legal standards for the seizure of illegally gained assets. Substantial efforts by Governments and Parliaments at all levels are now needed to have these standards adopted into the legislative frameworks of the country, and to ultimately ensure that crime does not pay!

The Project has also prepared a roadmap for the implementation of adequate standards of personal data protection. This is of course key for BiH to further deepen its cooperation with Europol.

Also on the international front, a working agreement with the European Police College (CEPOL) has been agreed upon.

So, this is all evidence of concrete progress, but of course a lot remains to be done as well.

There is a space for improvement when it comes to the use of the police data exchange system and the systematic exchange of criminal intelligence. The country also needs to make particular efforts in this area, which is important not only here but also throughout Europe.

This brings me to the future of our cooperation.

We are looking forward to continue the approach we have started with this project – an approach of partnership and EU integration, supported through dialogue and through concrete projects.

Adding to the 20 Million Euros we have invested in the sector since 2002, we will this year launch two new Twinning projects in the value of 6 Million Euros. We will keep the same spirit of partnership and we plan to go more into depth on jointly selected priorities through these projects among them money laundering, asset seizure, corruption and strategic management.

Let me close by again thanking all those who have contributed to make this project a success.

Thank you.