On September 14, 2023, the Tirana Home Affairs Ministerial convened, marking a significant stride towards enhanced security and cooperation among the Western Balkan nations within the framework of the Berlin Process. Hosted by Albania’s Minister of Interior, Mr. Taulant Balla, the assembly accentuated key areas, including the fortification of integrated border management and the staunch fight against transnational organized crime and cyber threats.
The Ministers unanimously advocated for the advancement of integrated border management. European Union support was spotlighted as crucial, with capacity building, digitalization, and enhanced border security emerging as focal areas to proficiently tackle migration and border-crossing crimes. The EU-Action Plan on Western Balkans was upheld as a core reference, with a call for extended European partnerships in establishing comprehensive systems for information exchange, joint actions, and risk analysis.
Transnational organized crime was another central theme, with the ministers resolute in countering its deleterious impact on public safety, social cohesion, and democratic institutions. The crimes, recognized for their cross-border nature, necessitate amplified cooperation not only within the Western Balkans but also with the EU and international entities. The envisioned path forward includes the formation of Joint Task Forces and enhanced interagency cooperation, encapsulating law enforcement, prosecution, and judiciary to effectively counter human trafficking, smuggling, and drug trafficking.
In the realm of cybersecurity, the need for reinforced international and regional collaboration was underscored. Western Balkan countries explicitly expressed the intent to integrate into the CSIRT network under the NIS 2 Directive. The establishment of a coordinated platform for early warnings, shared practices, and technical support was pinpointed as vital. The dialogue underscored the urgency for financial backing and expert training to augment the region’s resilience and responsive capacity to evolving cyber threats.
The meeting culminated in a collective call for the harmonization of national cybersecurity frameworks. Standardized policing and approaches across nations were identified as pivotal to safeguarding critical infrastructure, notably susceptible to cyber-attacks. This comprehensive overview offers a snapshot of the key discussions and conclusions of the Tirana Home Affairs Ministerial 2023. For an in-depth insight, the full report is accessible, unfolding detailed deliberations and strategic outcomes of this essential gathering.
Picture: Armand Habazaj; rcc.int