PCC SEE Working Groups
Thematic Working Groups
According to the Rules of Procedure of the Convention the Expert Working Group (EWG) may establish Thematic Working Groups for the technical implementation of the Convention as well as Ad Hoc Groups. The decision on the establishment of a thematic working group includes the mandate of this group as well.
Currently there are two main thematic working groups within the framework of the Convention – for police cooperation and for border police cooperation (called also Integrated Border Management group). The meetings of the Thematic Working Groups are conducted if necessary or following a request expressed by the EWG.
Information about the meetings of the thematic working groups conducted so far may be found on the web site of the Secretariat of the Convention.
The following thematic working groups were established or are under establishment during the last year:
Mutual Evaluation in the Area of Data Protection
On its second meeting in Brussels on 17 November 2009 the Committee of Ministers adopted a special decision on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on Data Protection and Rules of Procedure for Evaluations in the Area of Data Protection similar to the Schengen evaluations.
It is envisaged that when a respective Contracting Party estimates that it has met all preconditions and provisions from the Convention and its system for protection of personal data is efficient, the respective Contracting Party shall send a statement on readiness to the Secretariat. Then the EWG shall adopt the decision that an evaluation for the respective Contracting Party can be launched and an Evaluation team(s) can be deployed to the respective Contracting Party. The evaluation teams shall consist of representatives of all the other Contracting Parties, experts in the area of data protection, and shall be led by an expert from the Contracting party that is chairing the Convention for the respective period.
The decision of the Committee of Ministers explicitly states that, having passed successfully their Schengen evaluations in the area of data protection, Bulgaria and Romania shall not be subject to an evaluation in the framework of the Convention. However both countries are invited to nominate their experts for participation in the evaluation teams.
The first meeting of the Ad hoc Working Group on Data Protection was held on 24-26 February 2010 in Ljubljana. Representatives of the Ministries of Interior/Security and of the independent authorities for data protection of all Contracting Parties participated in the meeting, as well as representatives of the PCC SEE Secretariat, Germany, Slovenia, Europol and DCAF. Along with the specific tasks of the Ad hoc Working Group and the procedure for the evaluations in the framework of the Convention, the relevant European legal framework in the area of data protection and the procedures for the Schengen evaluations and self-evaluations were discussed. It was decided to update the information in the questionnaires filled in by CPs in 2009. CPs were advised to consider the situation in their countries and to submit statements of readiness for the mutual evaluation, if appropriate.
Minutes from the meeting
Following the discussions of the Ad hoc WG, on 12 March 2010 Minister Tsvetanov in his capacity of the Chair of the Committee of Ministers sent letters to his respective colleagues to nominate national experts for the evaluation teams. Although the deadline for the answers was 29 March 2010, for the moment we have received answers just from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Moldova. Bulgaria also nominated an expert. The other CPs are expected to nominate their experts as soon as possible, in order to have a full list of the evaluation team. On the last EWG meeting on 16 September 2010 in Skopje Albania and Moldova declared their readiness to be evaluated till the end of 2010, while Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro estimate that they will be ready in 2011.
Harmonised Training on Convention related matters
On the initiative of the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-office of PCC SEE, a meeting of representatives of the police education and training institutions of CPs was held in Sofia on 8 and 9 April 2010. The main objective of the meeting was to exchange information on the curricula of the police education and training institutions of the CPs with regard to training on PCC SEE related matters. In order to widen the scope of the cooperation and to use already existing best practices within the EU and the region, representatives of Austria (National Security Academy SIAK), CEPOL, Frontex, AEPC, OSCE, UNODC, SECI Center were invited to present their existing training programmes and give ideas on their use within the framework of PCC SEE.
The Strategy Paper regarding the conduct of standardised training on PCC SEE related matters prepared by the PCC SEE Secretariat and consulted among the Contracting Parties (“CPs”) in the beginning of 2010 was presented in details at the meeting. The representatives of all CPs declared the approval of their countries of the document.
Detailed information on the discussions during the meeting can be found in the Minutes from the meeting.
Bulgaria pointed out that the main instrument of the harmonised training is the elaboration of a common curriculum, unified for all police education and training institutions of CPs, yet taking into account the national particularities of the education and training. The representatives of the Academy of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior suggested using distant form of training with regard to the theoretical part of PCC SEE related matters - via a common training website of the police education and training institutions of the CPs specially designed for this purpose, or via the official Home Page of the PCC SEE Secretariat. With regard to the practical part of the trainings was suggested to carry out most of them in the police education and training institution of each CP with experts coming from different EU MS and EU agencies, pointing out that this will save financial resources for sending trainees, on the one hand, and will give opportunity for more people from the respective CP to be included, on the other.
The Bulgarian representatives, supported by CEPOL, also proposed to change the term “standardised training” used so far within PCC SEE documents into “harmonised training”, in order to comply better with the terminology used in the academic circles.
Following the discussions at the meeting of the representatives of the police education and training institutions, and after a silent procedure, at its meeting in Sofia on 19 May 2010 the EWG under Art.33 of PCC SEE took a decision on the Establishment of a Thematic Working Group on Police Education and Training within PCC SEE.
Forged and Fake Travel Documents
The decision on the establishment of this Working Group was taken at the EWG meeting in Skopje on 16 September 2010, under the initiative of the Macedonian Chairmanship-in-office and the PCC SEE Secretariat.
Experts with operational experience and knowledge in the above mentioned area shall be involved in the activities of the Working Group, as well as experts with a forensic background. The main aim of the Working Group will be sharing expertise and establishing contacts between the relevant experts in order to enhance the practical cooperation, and it will build upon the already existing initiatives in this area.
The WG mandate includes: informing each other on cases where forged or falsified documents were used, on new forms of modus operandi for forgery and falsification of documents, on new technologies and sharing know how about safety measures; sharing significant information (person-related data not included) to facilitate operational planning both for routine activities and for special operations, in the area of fight against forged and fake travel documents; preparing and regularly updating common directories containing data on travel documents; planning and carrying out joint programmes in the field of fight against use of forged and fake documents; discussing new strategies;facilitating mutual training/study visits.
Other initiatives on expert level within PCC SEE:
Joint Investigation Teams
The PCC SEE Secretariat has elaborated and implements a project on training of prosecutors and police officers for carrying out Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) within PCC SEE. The project is financed by the European Commission under the Criminal Justice Specific Programme, and is co-financed by DCAF. The main aim of the project is to foster the establishment of JITs between EU MS and third countries. Partners in the implementation of the project are Europol and Eurojust. All Contracting Parties to PCC SEE participate in this project, represented by one prosecutor and one police officer from a respective structure with competences in performing JITs.
The first workshop under this project was held from 29 September to 1 October 2010 in Ljubljana. The legal base given by PCC SEE for the establishment of JITs in the region was presented there, as well as the existing manuals of Europol and Eurojust in this field. Questionnaires were handled to the participants, with the aim to collect comprehensive information on the legal and practical possibilities to establish JITs in the individual PCC SEE countries.
Two more workshops are envisaged within the framework of the projects. They will be held in Sofia (27-29 October 2010) and in Bucharest 923-25 November 2010).
The idea of the Secretariat, presented at the EWG meeting in Skopje is to use the EU experience and establish a network of contact points in the JITs area, and for this purpose a possible establishment of a thematic working group within PCC SEE after the implementation of the project is foreseen.
Cross-border Surveillance Exercises
The Secretariat initiated organising a series of practical exercises on cross-border surveillance and controlled deliveries in order to facilitate the practical implementation of Articles 14 and 15 of PCC SEE. Each Contracting Party should hold such joint exercises with all its PCC SEE neighbouring countries in the framework of this project implemented in several phases.
The exercises will include both types of cross-border surveillance provided in PCC SEE – ordinary cases, and emergency cases. The main aim of the exercises is to give the chance of the practitioners from two neighbouring countries to carry out real-time cooperation between themselves, to identify possible legal or practical gaps and to suggest ways for their overcoming.
Updated on at Monday, October 11, 2010