Italian-Bulgarian Cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs

Diplomacy |Author: Stefania Abati | June 1, 2011, Wednesday // 06:35|  views

The third Italian-made C-27J Spartan military transport airplane was inaugurated by the Bulgarian Air Force in March 2011. Photo by BGNES

Article by Stephania Abati for the "International Survey: Bulgaria-Italy" of (Sofia News Agency)

Based on its competence and capabilities to act in certain sectors Italy developed with Bulgaria beneficial bi-lateral cooperation aimed at working with the institutions and providing training for the Bulgarian public servants after the accession of Bulgaria in the EU. I will provide some examples of results that were highly appreciated by both countries.

1) It is noteworthy to mention the bi-lateral Agreement for police cooperation and combating organized crime where, inter alia, is provided the exchange of liaison officers – a fact that made the collaboration between the competent judicial authorities more efficient and effective than it was in the past.

2) It was an Italian idea to train Bulgarian police officers in the form of workshop delivered by Italian experts on the topic of documentation accompanying Italian vehicles imported in Bulgaria. The main goal of this initiative was to facilitate the Bulgarian police in checking easily and effectively Italian vehicles sold in Bulgaria. Similar initiatives will be implemented soon in the training of the Bulgarian police in various aspects of cyber crime.

3) Curbing money laundering was one of the topics in the scope of the administrative twinning Further strengthening of the administrative capacity of the Financial Supervision Commission aiming at the efficient implementation of the acquis communautaire focused on improving the capacity of the of the Financial Supervision Commission and building up a 'culture' of services among all responsible for the sectors movables, social insurance and pension funds.

4) Another training course with financial content (co-funded by OLAF and Italy) organized by Guardia di Finanza and intended for training Bulgarian officials in combating frauds with EU funds with the meaningful title The Italian Experience in Combating Fraud with EU Funds: Support for the Bulgarian Authorities in Prevention and Counteraction for Protection of EU Financial Interests.

5) Cooperation in the areas of defense and public order includes supply of aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force and Border Police with the relevant crew training. In the first case were supplied three military transport Alenia C-27J Spartan machines; four helicopters (three AW109POWER and one AW139) manufactured by Agusta Westland were supplied for improving control over the EU external borders, as provided by the Schengen Agreement, and to enable Bulgaria to participate in joint FRONTEX operations (EU Agency established to coordinate the operational cooperation between Member States in the field of border security).

6) Cooperation in the area of artistic and cultural heritage protection is closely related to the Twinning Further strengthening the administrative capacity of the Public Prosecutor's Office for fighting organized crime in the sphere of cultural goods in particular and related applicable EU acquis between the Italian Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, a unit of the Italian Carabinieri police force for protection of cultural heritage and agency Formez PA, and the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice. The project aimed at training experts in the field of prevention against breaching the EU acquis in the area of export and trade in cultural goods within the legal framework of Regulation 3911/92 and Directive 93/7. Currently both parties are working to continue the bi-lateral collaboration in the areas of retraining human resources and improving the information systems of the Bulgarian judicial system.

7) In conclusion and moving from national to local level, relevant initiatives were launched for data provision to Sofia Municipality for the purpose of organizing Municipal Police in accordance with the Rome model.

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