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Kick-off of EMPACT Operational Action in countering smuggling of migrants held in Skopje

The regional project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans supported the kick-off meeting of Operational Action (OA) Adriatic, led by Spain and co-led by the police authorities of North Macedonia. This event took place on the 12th of April in Skopje, North Macedonia. The meeting was organized under the auspices of European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) and hosted by the police authorities of North Macedonia. The Operational Action Adriatic is an EMPACT activity led by Spain which tackles Illegal Migration from Third Country Nationals via multiple air, land and sea routes through the Western Balkans into and within the EU.

The meeting gathered representatives of police authorities of relevant EU and WB member states, as well as representatives of the EU Commission, Frontex and EUROPOL. In addition to Spain and North Macedonia as leader and co-leader of the activity respectively, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, Greece, Portugal, as well as Albania and Serbia took active part in the discussions. The Modus operandi of the organized crime groups was elaborated on, especially the importance of monitoring social media and messaging apps for countering criminal activities alongside the relevant routes. Likewise, the participants had the opportunity to share relevant operational information pertaining to the international operation Gran Salto which is at the forefront of Operational Action Adriatic, and the related national investigations.

EMPACT Operational Action Adriatic is a positive example of good police cooperation between the EU and their partner countries from the WB region. CSC WB will continue to support the efforts of WB countries to actively contribute to the fight against EU serious and organized crime priorities in the framework of EMPACT.