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07 APR 2009

RCC-hosted international conference agrees to strengthen efforts in fighting stolen vehicle crime in South East Europe

Participants of the 5th regional conference on stolen vehicle crime in South East Europe at the premises of the RCC Secretariat, Sarajevo, BiH, 7 April 2009. (Photo RCC/Selma Ahatovic-Lihic)

Participants of the 5th regional conference on stolen vehicle crime in South East Europe at the premises of the RCC Secretariat, Sarajevo, BiH, 7 April 2009. (Photo RCC/Selma Ahatovic-Lihic)

SARAJEVO, 7 April 2009 – The 5th conference of the Bled Process on Stolen Vehicle Crime agreed in Sarajevo today to strengthen regional efforts in fighting this crime in South East Europe (SEE). The event was co-organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat and the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA).

In his opening address, the Norwegian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jan Braathu, stressed that the stolen vehicle crime is a highly lucrative criminal endeavour intimately linked with organized crime, and its curbing required a concerted joint effort.

“We can succeed in limiting and ultimately possibly even eradicating cross-border stolen vehicle crime if we work together. Here the RCC can provide the framework for continued and enhanced cooperation on a very specific and concrete issue of regional and Europe-wide importance.”

The Senior RCC Expert on Justice and Home Affairs, Virgil Ivan Cucu, said the conference aims at bringing SEE closer to EU standards in this area.

“We expect the conference to result in an institutional and functional standardization, the synchronized use of tools in fighting stolen vehicle crime, while national law enforcement agencies, police departments, customs, prosecution offices, and judiciary have to become the most active partners in the regional cooperation.”

The conference was welcomed also by the Head of SEPCA’s Sub-board for Combating Organized Crime, Edin Vranj.

The participants recommended establishment of a regional Bled network to strengthen implementation of national action plans (NAPs) to fight stolen vehicle crime, furthering of cooperation between regional and international partners with support of Interpol and Europol, and implementation of NAPs through twining programmes, with SEPCA’s active involvement.

They further recommended that the Bled Process should be completed in 2011, while the RCC’s coordination activities should aim at having all the parties implement their NAPs as a priority. At the same time, synergies should be ensured between national vehicle crime units, insurance contact points and among running projects, such as Interpol system I-24/7 (the Interpol database on stolen goods – vehicles, travel documents and artwork).

The 5th conference of the Bled Process on Stolen Vehicle Crime was attended by representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, UNMIK/Kosovo, Austria, France, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, as well as Interpol, the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Centre, the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Insurance and Re-insurance Federation, The Netherlands Foundation for Tackling Vehicle Crime, the Zavarovalnica Maribor Insurance Company, the SEPCA and the RCC Secretariat.

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