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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article22 April 2015Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Western Balkans’ Prosecutors and Policemen strengthen co-operation thanks to Regional IPA projects fighting Organised Crime

15/04/2015 Rome - Two key IPA multi-country projects on fighting organised crime in the Western Balkans: the Prosecutors’ Network and the International Law Enforcement (police) co-operation, held a joint Steering Committee linking their projects. The...

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15/04/2015 Rome - Two key IPA multi-country projects on fighting organised crime in the Western Balkans: the Prosecutors’ Network and the International Law Enforcement (police) co-operation, held a joint Steering Committee linking their projects. The EU prosecutors and the policemen who will work in the beneficiary countries will also team up with their counterparts from the Western Balkans, by creating working groups. In these groups information on investigations will be shared, for the best follow-up. For this they will benefit from each other’s contacts, information sources, tools and instruments. This will not only facilitate the work within the countries, but in particular between the countries and with EU Member States. Likewise, they will involve other key projects like the IPA regional Witness Protection Programme (WINPRO) but as well as national IPA projects in their work. The group will also identify additional needs to be catered for by these or future projects.

‘It was a logical step to synchronize our watches’, said prefect Mrs Annapaola Porzio of the Italian Ministry for the Interior – Department for Interpolice co-operation, co-ordinating the police project, ‘in particular since in the end the prosecutors will assess whether and how to continue with the investigations.'

‘Working as early as possible with the police on cases allows us, the prosecutors to come to a better judgement on whether we have a case’ said Mr Henk Scholtz, project leader of the prosecutors network project managed by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC).

Both agreed that in most EU Member States involving the prosecutors at a very early in police work is standard practice so that investigations can be handled more effective and efficiently. More importantly, the policemen and prosecutors from the Western Balkans stressed that working together builds trust which is essential for successful co-operation. Learning by doing, by working on real cases, allows us all to apply what we learned and were trained to do using previous EU support.

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