On 16-17 October 2018 in Veles, the heads of the Law Enforcement and Control and Intelligence Sectors of six Western Balkan Customs Administrations had an informal regional meeting.

 
The meeting’s topic of discussion was the legal aspects of defining the framework for secure information exchange according to harmonized standards and methods, through designated contact points at each Customs Administration.

Macedonian Customs Director General, Mr. Gjoko Tanasoski, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Macedonia Ms. Rachel Galloway and the representative from UK HM Revenue and Customs, Mr. Andrew Pavlinich opened the meeting. 

In his address, the Director General of the Macedonian Customs Administration said that the meeting is a convenient opportunity to share best practices and experiences concerning the implementation of the activities of the Multi-Annual Action Plan adopted in July 2017, on the path to establishing a Regional Economic Zone in the Western Balkans and integrating the region in the European Union. He pointed out that in the future, the focus will be on simplifying the customs controls and permanent improvement of the risk analysis mechanisms and introduction of joint border controls.

The British Ambassador to Macedonia, Ms. Rachel Galloway stressed that stronger capacities of the customs administrations for timely and efficient exchange data at national and regional levels will help tackle the threats of serious, organized and economic crime. Effective dealing with threats requires effective procedures for information exchange, trust and communication. She noted that the Western Balkans is a key region for the United Kingdom, and its stability and prosperity is beneficial to the entire Europe, as well. Britain is committed to the region and it is a pleasure for us to support initiatives such as this one that comes from the region itself.

The proposals that resulted from the meeting, organized with the support of the  HM Revenue and Customs and the World Customs Organization, will be presented to the Directors of the Customs Services of the Western Balkans and will be subject to consideration at the next high-level informal meeting that will be organized in Podgorica in December this year.

 

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