MINISTERIAL FORUM EU - WESTERN BALKANS7.10.2011.
The Ministerial Forum EU-Western Balkans in the field of justice and home affairs was held on October 2nd – 4th 2011 in Ohrid, Macedonia, under the auspices of the Polish EU Presidency with the support of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Macedonia and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia. The Forum was attended by representatives of the European Commission, headed by Mrs. Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, and Mrs. Françoise Le Bail, European Commission Director-General for Justice, who attended the meeting instead of Ms. Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, the ministers of justice and home affairs of the region and representatives of the ministries of justice and home affairs of the Western Balkans. The delegation of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia consisted of Ms. Gordana Pualić, State Secretary, Mr. Vojkan Simic, Assistant Minister and Mrs. Danica Stojanovic, Head of Department for European Integration and Project Management.
The first day of the Ministerial Forum was dedicated to the latest information and progress in the field of internal affairs. Specifically, discussions were held on visa-free regime between countries in the region and the European Union, the monitoring mechanism, migration, border management, including cooperation with Frontex, the fight against organized crime, corruption and human trafficking, as well as an extended cooperation with Europol. Special attention was paid to increasing the number of false asylum seekers from the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the second day of the Forum, the progress made by the Western Balkans countries in the field of judicial independence including prosecution, personal data protection, judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters, broaden cooperation with Eurojust was discussed, and presented the priorities related to the field of justice and home affairs of Denmark and Cyprus, future European Union president countries in 2012.
Mrs. Pualić spoke of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with special emphasis on bilateral cooperation in the Western Balkans in the joint fight against organized crime and the importance of mutual legal assistance in this area; of signed agreements on mutual legal assistance and extradition between the Republic of Serbia and the countries of the region; drafts of contracts in this area prepared together with the Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Croatia, as well as the upcoming negotiations on this subject with the Republic of Albania. Ms. Pualić presented in great detail the initiative of the Republic of Serbia on the establishment of the Regional arrest warrant for the Western Balkans whose implementation would be modeled on the European arrest warrant. According to Mrs Pualić, the Regional arrest warrant would establish greater confidence among the Western Balkan countries, creating a single judicial space in which there is no place for organized crime and corruption and thus extending the security system of the European Union to the Western Balkans.
Ministers of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania welcomed and supported this initiative, while Mr. Igor Dzialuk, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Poland and the Chairman of the Forum EU - Western Balkans, expressed great satisfaction and provided strong support for the Republic Serbia in establishing a Regional arrest warrant, stressed its importance in the joint fight against organized crime and corruption and the positive results that would lead not only to acceleration of the further European integration of Western Balkans, but would contribute to the common interest of EU citizens to reduce organized crime to a minimum.