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Meeting of regional National Counter-Terrorism Coordinators held in Budva, ME

On the 26th of April, the Regional Network of National Counter-Terrorism and Preventing / Countering Violent Extremism Coordinators of the Western Balkan Six (RNNC) held its 13th meeting in Budva, Montenegro. The meeting was chaired by the EU Regional CT Advisor Mr. Eddy Greif and the State Secretary of Montenegro Mr. Slobodan Kovačević. Together with the National Coordinators and their colleagues, representatives of the European Commission, the EU Delegations in the Western Balkans and of some EU member states,  and the USA as well as representatives of several relevant projects regarding CVE, attended the one day meeting.

After the opening words of Mr. Greif and Mr. Kovačević, the present National Coordinators presented updates on the current state of play of the implementation of the national CT P/CVE strategies and action plans in their respective countries. Furthermore, the forum discussed new challenges regarding the field of violent extremism, the implementation of the Joint Action Plan countering Terrorism in the WB and its bilateral CT arrangements and the cooperation with the WB authorities in their activities on resocialisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (RRR) of returning foreign terrorist fighters and their families. The National Coordinators elaborated on the progress achieved, challenges faced, the strategical and operational way forward. The representatives of the EU CT P/CVE relevant services then also shared their views on the topic and reported on the current projects financed by the commission.

In the last session of the meeting, the implementers of relevant projects, which cooperate with the national authorities in the field of Counter-terrorism were given the opportunity to present their respective work: the regional project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans, the STRIVE Program on the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism of Hedayah, the regional Council of Europe project in the field of prevention and countering of violent extremism and radicalization in prisons in the Western Balkans, the regional GCERF project on RRR, as well as the regional network WB PaCT by CEPOL.

The RNNC as a forum is characterized by a strong cooperation between all national, regional and international members – the interactions between the EU funded projects and the beneficiaries are increasingly feeding into national strategies of countering terrorism and preventing and countering of violent extremism. Further development and implementation of the Joint Action Plan for terrorism in the WB, based on the renewed CT Dialogues remains a priority for the Western Balkans and the EU, as stated during the meeting. International cooperation is the only effective way to address terrorism, violent extremism and other emerging cross border security challenges.

The meeting was supported by the regional project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans, which is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC), co-financed by the European Commission (DG NEAR), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development German Government (BMZ) and the Italian Ministry of Interior. The main objective is to strengthen the cross-border cooperation to counter serious and organised crime in the Western Balkans with institutions and networks of the EU.