Today, in the margins of the ministerial meeting of Western Balkans’ Home Affairs Ministers in Skopje, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos endorsed an arrangement for the implementation of the Western Balkans Joint Action Plan on Counterterrorism, following its endorsement by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Serbia, Ph.D. Nebojsa Stefanovic in Belgrade yesterday.
The arrangement is an expression of determination, from both the European Commission and Serbian authorities, to strengthen cooperation on countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism. It identifies concrete priority actions on countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism, which the Serbian authorities should take in the course of 2019 and 2020. It covers all five objectives of the Joint Action Plan (PDF) agreed between the EU and its Western Balkans partners in October 2018.
The priority actions being endorsed today include:
- Setting out the functions and duties of, as well as providing sufficient financial and human resources for the National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism and for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism of Serbia. Reviewing Serbia’s National Strategy for the Prevention and Fight against Terrorism, which should include, among others, a section with background analysis of all forms of radicalisation and violent extremism;
- Stepping-up activities in the field of prevention of all forms of radicalisation and violent extremism. This includes training local practitioners (such as teachers, police social workers, representatives of religious communities) to detect and address violent extremist tendencies, as well as developing effective strategic communication campaigns and putting in place a multi-agency approach that includes civil society organisations;
- Finalising the draft Law on the National Database for Prevention and Fight against Terrorism and adopt it; effectively implementing the legal framework for criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing, in particular by further developing its track record on investigation, prosecution and convictions.
The authorities of Serbia intend to report biannually to the Commission on the state of implementation of the arrangement.
The arrangement also indicates envisaged Commission support for priority actions, such as support through the EU’s Radicalisation Awareness Network, the European Strategic Communications Network, and the Instrument for Pre-Accession for criminal and financial investigation capacities.
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