Regional police, customs officials attend conference
A regional conference on prevention of corruption on border crossings was held in Belgrade, hosted by the U.S. embassy.Source: Tanjug
It gathered representatives of the police, Prosecutor's Offices and customs services of Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Romania.
The conference marks the conclusion of the project of joint border anti-corruption initiative launched in 2012. Conference participants pointed to the necessity of closer cooperation between the police, prosecution and customs services within each of the countries and the strengthening of international cooperation as well.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MUP) Vanja Vukić said at the conference opening that the implementation of experiences gained in the course of the project would provide a substantial contribution to the MUP activities in the prevention and countering corruption, and added that one of the main prerequisites for a successful fight against this mode of crime is an efficient coordination of the work conducted by bodies in charge of countering corruption.
According to Vukić, this primarily covers the cooperation between government bodies and institutions immediately included in constitution of a strong state mechanism for countering corruption.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador Gordon Duguid pointed to the necessity of cooperation between competent bodies within a country in terms of the fight against corruption and crime and the strengthening of international cooperation.
He said that old ideas that the borders serve as the country's protection are not useful any longer because crime and corruption know no borders.
Duguid said that there is no difference between smuggling weapons and smuggling cigarettes or any other mode of crime, and added that it is up to the authorities to set up a regional and global network in order to prevent it.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Milan Bojković noted that major challenges in the fight against crime and corruption call for extensive cooperation between authorities in every country and cross-border cooperation as well.
Representative of the Serbian Customs Administration Ognjen Pantelić said that the fight against corruption in Serbia has been recognised as the society's priority and noted that the project contributed to this end.
The conference aims to encourage international cooperation, intensify cooperation between sectors in Serbia and render a comparison between the best practice in the U.S. and the EU in order to help Serbia efficiently counter corruption.