The level of organized crime and corruption in the Western Balkans is a serious obstacle on the path towards EU integration. In order to increase capacities to fight these phenomena a conference took place in Zagreb on 6 and 7 March with the aim of improving links between prosecution services in the West Balkan region.
The conference brought together prosecutors, police officers and representatives of Ministries of Justice from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia. One of the requirements for accession to the EU is that national prosecution services adopt international standards, increase their cooperation with European institutions like EUROJUST and work smoothly with police services. This will improve the capacity to fight organized crime, to learn from each other and to cooperate efficiently among each other and within the European Union. Communication between the national prosecution services has already improved, but formal communication between prosecution services remains a challenge due to the highly sensitive nature of the information involved (for example the sharing of evidence). One of the issues that was discussed at the conference was the setting up of a secure, internet based communication system for the exclusive use of prosecutors in the region. The project is implemented by the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).