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START logo smallCentre for European Perspective is starting a two-day seminar today titled Illicit Trafficking of Firearms in the Danube Region. The project proposal was selected to receive financial support from the EU Strategy for the Danube Region – START Fund.

Project is implemented in cooperation with Criminal Police of the Republic of Slovenia and three partners from the Western Balkans, the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (Serbia), Centre for Security Studies (Bosnia and Hercegovina) and Centre for Monitoring and Research CeMI (Montenegro). The main objective of the project is to improve the fight against illicit trafficking of firearms in the Danube Region through strengthened cooperation between practitioners (law enforcement and judicial authorities) and with extensive support of the researchers, international organisations and other actors.

Organized crime is a major global and regional security risk. Illicit arms’ trafficking is one of key forms of crime, defined in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. After the armed conflict in the Western Balkans (WB) in the 90ies, large quantities of weapons, particularly military arms, remained on stock and are ending in the black market.

EU emblem smallWestern Balkans region is often a source of weapons used in different terrorist attacks. EU believes that there are two main trafficking routes for weapons from the Balkans into EU: one in the south, through Italy, and another through Slovenia and Austria. It is also in that sense that the Danube region is particularly vulnerable from the security perspective, uniting EU member states and EU accession countries, as well as those which are in and out of the Schengen area. In the light of recent terrorist alarms across Europe, it is obvious that this topic is of key importance. Pressing issue is the purchasing and use of these arms by terrorists and extremist groups, by organized criminal groups in conflicts between criminal gangs, but also for armed robberies and other violent acts on a daily basis.

Taking these risks into consideration the EU and other organisations have reinforced their efforts to systematically limit the smuggling of arms originating from the Western Balkans. More effort should be put on early stages in criminal intelligence and support countries of the WB in the field of stockpile management, surplus and destruction of the arms.

The mentioned project Illicit Trafficking of Firearms in the Danube Region is being implemented in three phases since May 2015. It started with a comprehensive needs assessment analysis, and is being followed with the current two-day seminar, which will be followed by a report and list of recommendations. A two day seminar will focus on the skills and tasks required for successful performance of work by criminal police and prosecutors in the field of illicit trafficking in firearms, theft of weapons and illegal accumulation of firearms with the aim of exchanging know-how, best practice and information between countries upstream and downstream the Danube River. Seminar will be practically orientated and will aim at developing concepts of coherent approach, better cooperation and boosting trust in the fight against stockpiling and trafficking of illicit firearms with special emphasis on early intelligence work.

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Contact Information

Centre for European Perspective
Grajska cesta 1
1234 Loka pri Mengšu, Slovenia
Fax: +38615608601

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