Interior Ministry officials from six countries in the region signed a joint declaration at Mount Jahorina near Sarajevo on Wednesday, committing to stronger cooperation in the protection of borders and assessing that this was increasingly important because of the mounting migrant crisis and terror threats.
The document says that present-day security challenges pose a danger not only to border stability but general security as well. It was signed at an annual conference dedicated to a special border protection programme implemented by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). Croatia attended as an observer together with Slovenia, Hungary, Austria and Kosovo.
The declaration was signed by Interior Ministry representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Moldova, Macedonia and Albania, expressing willingness to establish an integrated border management system in line with European Union standards.
Alongside regulations, it is necessary to create technical prerequisites such as a data exchange mechanism for persons crossing the borders in the region to more effectively deal with cross-border and organised crime in Southeast Europe, it was said.
Anton Travner, head of DCAF's Ljubljana office, said the Jahorina Declaration was very important as it would significantly impact border security in the region. He said the region had considerably improved cooperation in border management since the DCAF programme was launched in 2012, and underlined the importance of expert and political support.
Serbian Acting Police Commissioner Vladimir Rebic said terrorism was the biggest threat today and that it was combined with migrations and asylum abuse. He underlined the importance of exchanging data and surveilling persons who fought in Syria and Iraq.
He said illegal Muslim communities were a problem for Serbia, but much smaller than in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has a bigger Muslim population.
Croatia and Slovenia were thanked at the conference for continually providing expert assistance to the countries participating in the DCAF border protection programme.