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Project News: Countering cross-border organised crime, EU4SAFEALB steering committee meeting

13 January 2021

In the framework of the EU funded project EU Support for the Effective Management of Green and Blue Borders in Albania (EU4SAFEALB) implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the first Project Steering Committee meeting took place on 12 January 2021.

The project was launched in February 2020, however it was temporarily suspended due to the COVID -19 pandemic and resumed in June 2020, when the situation improved and allowed for project continuation. 

The Project Steering Committee meeting aimed to look into the progress in the project implementation and endorse the next steps, in particular the supply of equipment and training delivery. It was co-chaired by the EU Delegation to Albania and ICMPD and attended by the beneficiary, Albanian Border and Migration Police, relevant international organisations (Frontex, IOM, OSCE, PAMECA) and bilateral donors that are providing support to Albania in the area of border management and countering organised crime. 

In the next project implementation phase, the Border and Migration Police will be equipped with the patrol vessels of different sizes, two mobile surveillance systems, a coastal radar surveillance system and a mobile maintenance workshop. In addition, the project will assist the Border and Migration Police in its capacity building through trainings on patrol vessels operations and equipment maintenance, including logistics related matters. 

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior of Albania, Mr Julian Hodaj informed about the full support to the project and said: “I am certain that this project supported by EU, will boost border police capacities by building safer borders, and a safer country in a safer region. It is never enough to stress the excellent cooperation between the EU and Albania and in particular, the Albanian government appreciates the support to these types of projects that help addressing important needs of the Albanian Border and Migration Police. It is worth also mentioning other important initiatives such as the joint operation with Frontex, which is being successfully carried out, the first of this kind in the region, with a non-member state country and also PAMECA which provides important technical assistance for many years. I believe the results of these actions are tangible in building capacities of the Albanian State Police and in preventing illegal migration.” 

Mr Mario Mariani, the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Albania said: “EU4SAFEALB will give an important boost to the capacity of the Albanian Border and Migration Police to fight effectively organised cross-border crime and drug trafficking. With a contribution of EUR 6 million, this is the latest in the long line of EU-funded support to law enforcement in Albania. In the last five years, support amounted to more than EUR 20 million. These initiatives share one goal: increasing the capacities of the Albanian law enforcement, promoting EU-Albania partnership in the fight against crime and in so doing, paving the way towards the EU accession of Albania.“

Mr Borut Eržen, the Head of ICMPD Border Management and Security Programme praised the level of cooperation with the project beneficiaries and the donor and highlighted the importance of the project for ICMPD: “ICMPD prioritised the project as one of the flagship activities in the Western Balkan which also shows long lasting cooperation between Albania and ICMPD. Thus, ICMPD pays outmost importance to the project implementation in line with the good practices from EU Member States in the area of border management and countering organised crime.”

The project is building on the assistance already provided to the Albanian Border and Migration Police in recent years and will address the immediate needs by enhancing the overall national capacity to counter cross-border crime including drugs trafficking  at the Albanian borders. 

Background information: 

The EU funded project “EU Support for the Effective Management of Green and Blue Borders in Albania (EU4SAFEALB)” with EUR 6.000.000 budget and with duration of 24 months, supports the provision of the modern technical means to the Border and Migration Police to enhance the Albanian national capacity to counter organised cross-border crime and drug trafficking.  

More information on the project can be found here.