October 4, 2008
The two newest member states, Romania and Bulgaria have signed a trilateral agreement with Serbia to combat organized crime and improve border patrol. If the three country’s polices forces achieve anything of their goals that will also have a direct effect on the rest of the EU, as the criminal activities covered by the agreement are co-ordinated in the Balkans but in effect conducted in Western Europe.
The Balkans countries, with their disputed sovereignities and war-destroyed economies had become the scene of organized crime after the Cold War. While violent crime rates went down, these countries became the hosts of highly-organized crime, supporting Europe with drugs, prostitutes and illegal immigrants. While these countries are very highly integrated into the European market, and due to their high number of emigrants, are interwoven with European citizens on the personal level, they have so far been left out from the European integration. This makes the willingness of Serbia, the region’s key country, to co-operate with neighboring EU states on policing very welcome.
The three countries agreed to co-operate in preventing illegal economic activities, suspicious transactions, money laundering, smuggling, sexual exploitation, counterfeiting money, documents and trademarks. They will unite their efforts against cyber-crime, corruption
I believe that instead of making great political gestures that make Serbian and European voters suspect of hidden agreements, this kind of pragmatic, goal-focused co-operation is the best way to bring Serbia into the European camp.
Image credit: flickrinthehear.Author : Dániel Antal