The Vienna Declaration - Balkans

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05.05.2006 A Ministerial Conference on the "Role of Internal Security in Relations between the EU and its Neighbours" was held on 4-5 May 2006 in Vienna, Austria.

At the initiative of Austria as the current Presidency of the EU Council, Member States of the European Union and its neighbouring countries met to discuss issues of common interest in relation to internal security.

The Neighbouring Arab Countries participated in the Conference. They emphasized that security is an issue of common interest. They expressed the importance of partnership for security with the EU in accordance with their respective objectives and priorities. They also underlined the need for further consultations on the modalities for such partnership.

The Russian Federation and the United States of America, as strategic partners of the European Union, participated in the Conference as observers.

The Conference expressed the common wish to develop a "Partnership for Security" in order to work towards an enhanced area of Freedom, Security and Justice.
Part I

General principles/Key elements

In order to meet the expectations of our citizens we must respond to the security threats of terrorism, organised crime, corruption and drugs and to the challenge of managing migration flows. In an increasingly interconnected world, cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs will become ever more important.

The Austrian EU Presidency therefore took the opportunity to bring together the EU, its Member States and neighbouring countries, as well as the Russian Federation and the United States of America as observers. This dialogue is a step in implementing the Strategy for the External Dimension of freedom, security and justice recently adopted by the European Union, together with the action-oriented papers on the Western Balkans and relevant ENP countries as well as on Afghanistan.

This process culminated in the present Vienna Ministerial Conference on 4-5 May 2006, with Ministers and representatives from more than 50 countries and international organisations, as the expression of the increasing role of internal security in external relations.

The development of an area of enhanced freedom, security and justice can only be successfully achieved through relationships based on mutual partnership between the European Union and its partners. To address the common security challenges in the 21st century, the participants in the Conference expressed their common wish to develop a "Partnership for Security", based on mutual trust and common interest. Such a partnership between interested countries will be future- and action-oriented, and based on the following key principles:

* Definition of concrete areas of common interest in the fields of combating terrorism, organised crime, corruption as well as in the field of management of migration flows.

* Coordinated engagement, mutual understanding and cooperation in order to tackle common problems and meet shared policy objectives in the field of justice and home affairs.

* Efforts to make justice and home affairs a shared priority in external relations, including through a coordinated engagement in the work of relevant international organisations (United Nations, Council of Europe, OSCE).

* Work towards action-oriented solutions, especially on terrorism, organised crime, corruption and illegal immigration.

* Applying a differentiated and flexible approach, including a multi-disciplinary assessment of needs.

* Promoting rule of law, democracy, fundamental rights and good governance seen also as a means of bolstering security.

* Mobilisation of political, financial and operational resources to work towards common objectives.

Internal and external security are closely related. Therefore priorities for future engagement should be formed by both, the partners´ internal and external policy objectives.

The Conference especially emphasizes that:

* the European Neighbourhood Policy offers a coherent framework for cooperation on security-related matters with the EU.

* the prospect of closer cooperation with the EU is an effective way to align with common international standards in justice and home affairs.

In an increasingly global economy, effective co-operation on justice and home affairs issues also supports the Partners' economic and trade objectives, by providing a political and legal environment conducive to economic development and the development of international commercial links.

Part II

The Conference focused on three priority areas: combating terrorism, organised crime and corruption and migration/asylum. Along the lines of the principles identified above, concrete measures and actions have been identified and agreed. They are briefly spelled out under each chapter hereinafter.

Combating terrorism

Recent terrorist atrocities underline the fact that it is no longer useful strictly to distinguish between internal and external security, and that terrorism is increasingly trans-national in nature. As a consequence, international co-operation to prevent and fight terrorism should be a fundamental element of external relations.

The Conference has identified the following measures to be implemented within the field of combating terrorism:

* Common efforts to prevent terrorism by measures against radicalisation and recruitment, especially considering the need to develop further the dialogue between cultures and religions.

* Improving the exchange of information with all countries to identify terrorists, disrupt their activities and to bring them to justice.

* Joint efforts for a comprehensive convention against terrorism within the UN as well as the implementation of the existing UN Convention against Terrorism.

* Cooperation in the field of critical infrastructure protection.

Organised crime and corruption

Organised and serious crime increasingly acts across borders. This results in a terrible cost for individuals. The Conference has identified the following measures to be implemented within the field of organised crime and corruption:

* Need for increased and targeted training of national law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges.

* Capacity building assistance to third countries.

* Need for harmonisation of measures to protect victims, in particular trafficked women and children, in accordance with the applicable EU, Council of Europe and UN instruments.

* Development of efficient and fast practical cooperation in fighting trafficking in human beings, smuggling of drugs as well as small arms.

* Use the expertise and capacities of relevant bodies like Europol and Eurojust.

Migration / Asylum

The Conference recognises that global migration, including the problem of illegal immigration, presents particular challenges. Managed effectively migration can have a substantial positive impact both for host and source countries and for migrants. However, it is essential to tackle the problem of illegal immigration and to prevent and fight the trafficking in human beings, while at the same time to protect the human rights of migrants.

The Conference has identified the following measures to be implemented within the field of migration and asylum:

* Establishment of closer cooperation on migration issues with countries and regions of origin, transit and destination, including cooperation in asylum management, based on international standards, good practices and common procedures.

* Intensification of cooperation on capacity building with the countries concerned to develop national legal procedures and guarantees corresponding to international law.

* A clear commitment to increase mutual cooperation, to improve security standards of travel documents and to introduce biometrics in travel documents.

* Support to the establishment of functional border control systems and to the joint approach in training of police, frontier guards and customs.

* Use of the expertise and capacities of existing relevant bodies.

* Conclusion and implementation of mutual Readmission Agreements.

* Deepening of dialogue and intensification of the partnership between the EU and key source countries and regions, in particular with African countries, countries in the eastern neighbourhood of the EU and regional organisations.

* Promotion of public awareness in countries of origin, transit and destination on opportunities and limitations as well as rights and obligations concerning migration.

Part III

Austria as the current Presidency of the Council of the European Union will report on the results of the Ministerial Conference, held on 4-5 May 2006 in Vienna, to the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers of the EU as well as to the European Council in June 2006.

The agreed Partnership for Security should especially be implemented through initiatives based on a differentiated and flexible approach to individual countries and regions, including a multi-disciplinary assessment of need.

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