The 14th External Relations Working Group (ERWG) meeting took place in Lisbon, Portugal, on 2-3 November 2010. In the presence of seven members of the ERWG, the Belgian Presidency, two observers from the EU, Cyprus and Greece, two candidate countries, Croatia and Turkey, two new partners to be, Georgia and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE), the ERWG met for the third and last time in 2010.
The external relations policy was adjusted to be consistent with the new priorities for CEPOL in terms of strategy (Stockholm programme, Lisbon Treaty, CEPOL Strategy adopted by the Governing Board (Decision 43/2010GB) on the 30th September 2010, methodology defined by the Belgian Presidency. Inspired by the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” (PDCA) Deming cycle, this method aims at supporting the Presidency and Director on matters arising from External requests for cooperation or change, including the procedure to be followed when materialising cooperation agreements and processes to be implemented for cooperation with candidate and potential candidate countries. Four phases will be followed (Prospection, including a proactive market analysis, Materialisation, Implementation and Evaluation).
Therefore, the policy paper, adopted in 2008, was amended to integrate the necessary changes; the working party in charge of the review was tasked to further elaborate on the included table related to the calculation of costs for the different categories of countries. To achieve its tasks, it was proposed that the working party should meet once with a financial expert from the Secretariat.
Cooperation with Russia was debated. The group will recommend to the Strategy committee to ask the Director to proceed as soon as possible and find out what is possible to realize with the Russian federation and if they agree on the changes proposed by the legal services of the Council of the EU.
A facts finding mission should be sent to Russia as soon as possible to clarify these issues and in the meantime the Director was asked by the ERWG to speed up the negotiations and meet the Russian representatives.
Cooperation agreement with the Turkish Institute will be signed by both parts beside the Governing Board to be held in Limelette in December. This should be the ultimate step of a long process allowing us to reinforce our mutual cooperation.
Georgia presented its request for cooperation with CEPOL. Both the Head of International Affairs from the Ministry of Interior and the Head of training unit in the police academy were present. They explained that formalized cooperation would allow setting a framework for future cooperation:
It was stressed that cooperation became permanent with Georgia for some EU Member states already (e.g. Poland) so that formalize cooperation would be a natural further step building on existing cooperation. They already developed cooperation with Europol and Frontex.
The next step will consist in sending a facts finding mission from CEPOL and identifying the possible NCP for CEPOL in Georgia;
The Secretariat of the PCC SEE(*) presented their request for cooperation, aiming at securing long term cooperation with CEPOL. The working group on harmonized training elaborated different draft common curricula (train the trainers) and would be happy to get access the experience from CEPOL to avoid overlapping, with a European perspective in mind.
The recommendation from the ERWG to the Strategy Committee is to move on with PCC SEE after having checked the legal advice from the council of the EU;
The facts finding mission to Albania was debated and the ERWG agreed to take on further steps towards cooperation. A cooperation agreement will be drafted and sent to the Albanian part.
Two fact findings missions will be launched in Montenegro and Liechtenstein: A mission composed by a representative from the ERWG, from the Secretariat and from the Belgian Presidency will be sent.
AEPC announced their willingness to further facilitate cooperation with colleagues from outside the EU and informed the group that two new members joined the association: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Lithuania.
Least but not last the ERWG members met in a close session to go through the five applications received after the call for nominations launched to fill the vacancy in the group. As an outcome, the ERWG members thanked Belgium, Denmark, Greece and Sweden for their excellent candidates and elected unanimously their new member Maurice Petit, from Belgium, Chair of AEPC who will ensure continuity in the policies set by the group.
The group will meet again three times in 2011. The next meeting will be held in Warsaw, Poland on 10-11 February 2011. Subsequent meetings will be held respectively in Estonia (7-8 July 2011) and in Romania (7-8 November 2010).
On 5 May 2006 in Vienna, during the Austrian presidency of the EU, the Ministers of Interior from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia, signed the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe. After ratification by all seven signatory states, the Convention entered into force on 10 October 2007. In addition, Bulgaria acceded to the Convention on 25 September 2008. More contracting parties should join shortly. PCC SEE will no longer exist when the last member will have joined the EU: full implementation of the PCC SEE means full implementation of EU acquis.
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