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Planning workshop on National EMPACT OA Plans 2023 in Belgrade and Skopje

The Project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans in close cooperation with the respective Ministries of Interior of North Macedonia and Serbia organized National EMPACT Operational Action Plans 2023 Planning workshops in the course of January 2023 (January 16th in Skopje and January 31st in Belgrade) .

The workshops gathered representatives from the Ministry of Interior and other relevant law enforcement actors that participate in EMPACT activities on national level, to jointly discuss and decide which agencies and to what extent would participate in the activities planned under the OAPs. In Skopje, the participants had the opportunity to learn a bit more about Slovenian participation in EMPACT as the current Slovenian NEC also took part in the meeting and provided valuable insights from an EU Member State.

Upon reflecting on EMPACT related results and experiences in 2022, the discussion on future steps and challenges in relation to OAP 2023 involvement followed, led by the respective National EMPACT Coordinators.  In Serbia, one of the key takeaways of the workshop was identifying the need to continue raising awareness on EMPACT in similar format by conducting national workshops, simultaneously involving both the central and regional level of all respective LEAs. In North Macedonia, the importance of alignment of national SOCTA priorities and national participation in EMPACT was stressed. Moreover, it was concluded that the next national meeting of this type should ideally take place prior to submission of the national interest to participate in EMPACT Operational Actions to Europol (in fall 2023). Finally, in both countries the participants recognized the room for improvement in their reporting system in relation to EMPACT and expressed their continued commitment to EMPACT processes  and further coordination in terms of planned operational actions in 2023 and beyond.