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National EMPACT coordinators strengthen cooperation

National EMPACT Coordinators (NECs) of the Western Balkans, their alternates and  counterparts from EU Member States and Europol met on the 16th and 17th of June in Skopje, North Macedonia. The key aim of the meeting was to step up Western Balkan involvement in EMPACT by strengthening strategic cooperation between  WB NECs  as well as with EU Member states.

The participants had the opportunity to exchange on the set-up and functioning of NEC arrangements of WB partners as well as the lessons learnt from the EMPACT experience of Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.  The EU presidency trio (France-Czech Republic-Sweden) shared their main points of strategic interest with special focus on how this affects the region and its participation in the fight against serious and organized crime threats. The EMPACT Support Team informed all stakeholders about current processes and Western Balkan involvement in the implementation of operational action plans.  EMPACT funding possibilities were also discussed. Participants exchanged about national reporting, the multidisciplinary approach and communicating EMPACT in more depth.

Both the WB and EU partners, agreed that this format of cooperation and exchange should continue in light of the continuous developments of EMPACT and the important role that NECs play in steering the national process.

EMPACT (“European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats”) is a security initiative driven by EU Member States to identify, prioritize and address threats posed by organized and serious international crime. The project CSC WB supports the appointment and functioning of EMPACT coordinators in the Western Balkans in line with relevant EU rules and recommendations.