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Strengthening cooperation on the fight against cybercrime threats in the Western Balkans

To facilitate the prevention and fight cybercrime, a workshop was organised on “Strengthening cooperation on the fight against cybercrime threats in the Western Balkans in the frame of the European Multi-disciplinary Platform against Criminal Threat (EMPACT). The project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans (CSCWB) – IPA 2019, together with Albanian State Police, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), and the Hungarian National Police, organized the workshop from 3rd to 5th of May 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

The main objective of the workshop was to enhance the cooperation between national/governmental Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) when fighting cybercrime. On those grounds, this three-day event brought together representatives of CERTs and LEAs communities from the Western Balkans and EU Member States, as well as representatives from Europol, ENISA and CEPOL.

The workshop served as a platform for CERT and LEA participants to share their best practices, as well as the challenges they are facing in their everyday cooperation. In order to keep pace with the rapidly evolving cybercrime, the participants have agreed that comprehensive and coordinated response to such threats is key when fighting this phenomenon. It is, therefore, found necessary for both CERT and LEA communities to define roles, responsibilities, and division of duties to have more efficient response to any cyber threat.

Through the three-day workshop, the participants identified main issues regarding the cooperation between LEAs and CERTs in the region, and ways on how to improve the cooperation between the relevant stakeholders and international actors. Additionally, the event provided the Western Balkans participants with an opportunity to get acquainted with the work of EUROPOL, ENISA and CEPOL on cybersecurity matters in the EU.

The project CSCWB IPA 2019 is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Italian Ministry of Interior (IMoI) and the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC), co-financed by the European Union, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Italian Ministry of Interior. Its 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.

The Western Balkans Partnership against Crime and Terrorism (WB PaCT) project is implemented by CEPOL in partnership with Europol and funded by the EU. The WB PaCT project aims at enhancing the capacities of the authorities in the Western Balkans to fight organised crime and terrorism including preventing and countering violent extremism by enhancing cooperation within the region and with the EU. For more information, please visit the project page.