Johansson to Serbia: You have made the whole of Europe safer by disarming citizens
The European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, today praised Serbia for the campaign to confiscate weapons.Source: Una
She pointed out that with this, Serbia not only made itself safer, but also the whole of Europe.
At the opening of the Ministerial Conference on the roadmap for firearms control in the region, which is being held in Brussels, European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that in the first two days of the campaign launched in Serbia last week, more weapons were confiscated than in the three previous campaigns combined.
"It's good that you took action, the gun confiscation action has our full support. You made a simple but effective video about the campaign, and as a result of that campaign, people turned in 9,400 guns and almost 1,000 explosive devices by last Friday alone. Citizens handed over more weapons in the first two days than in the previous three campaigns combined, and that shows determination to prevent future bloodshed," she said.
She thanked the authorities in Serbia and all the people who surrendered their weapons and pointed out that weapons kill people.
"There have been two deadly attacks in Serbia in 48 hours. My thoughts are with the victims and the families of the victims," Johansson said.
According to her, a successful campaign in Serbia should encourage everyone in the region to continue working on disarmament.
"We have a road map for the control of small arms and it is clear that we are making progress, all of you our partners from the Western Balkans have the structure and strategies to take action. In almost four years, all of you have handed over about 22,000 firearms and about 2,000 explosive devices. You have destroyed more of 41,000 rifles, 15 million rounds of ammunition. You are taking coordinated actions, strengthening the fight against weapons," she said.
She reminded that every 11 minutes a woman is killed by her partner or husband.
"If there are weapons, a lethal outcome is more likely. It's not just about arms control, it's about Europe's future. There's still a lot to be done. The roadmap is key on that path," she said.
EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borrell, said that dramatic events, such as the recent tragedies in Serbia, are a stark reminder of the importance of working together in the fight against small arms trafficking and its dealers.
"The arms collection campaign launched by the Government of Serbia with our support, with the support of the European Union, which took place right after these two tragic events, shows how valuable and important our security cooperation is in contributing to the security of our citizens," Borrell said.
He said that we must be united - the various functions of the European Union - bodies, institutions, states, the Swedish presidency, because we, as a whole region of the Western Balkans, have a duty to fight against violence, against human traffickers, against arms trafficking, in order to prevent this phenomenon from "contaminating the entire continent".
"Everyone knows that illegal arms trade is a serious threat to our peace and stability. It is a multiple threat that affects the stability of regions, states, societies and increases the risk of terrorist attacks. We must fight against it. Since it is a multifaceted problem, we must fight against him from multiple angles, with all our means, across all borders, to ensure that the measures taken after such tragic incidents remain in line with international standards," Borrell said.
As he said, the common goal is to increase European security, to protect all citizens, both in the EU and in the countries that are future members of the Union.
"In 2002, the EU invested over 38 million euros in arms control activities in the region. I give credit to our partners from the Western Balkans for taking ownership of the Roadmap as an investment in your region and in your citizens. And the recent mid-term review of the Roadmap showed that significant progress has been made in all jurisdictions in harmonizing their legal frameworks with the EU," he said.
He pointed out that the strengthening of capacities for the detection and investigation of firearms is noticeable, which leads to the standardization of access in the region, as well as improved operational cooperation in the Western Balkans and the European Union in the fight against traffickers and avoiding the misuse of firearms.
"I think we are on the right track. The road map has also become a blueprint for other regions in the world and that is something we should be proud of," he said, adding that last November the EU Council allocated an additional four million euros for the next three year for that purpose.
"Next year, together with the member states, we will consider how we can further support the process, because unfortunately, we will not be able to solve it in the next four years. The problem is too big, too deep, it chronically affects these Western Balkan societies, and we must continue to fight, we are investing and engaging ourselves in solving that problem," Borrell concluded.