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Cablegate: Central European Interior Ministers Pledge To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A



This message is sensitive but unclassified.

1. (U) SUMMARY: At the annual meeting of the "Salzburg

Forum" (an informal conference of Central European

Interior Ministers) Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary,

Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania pledged to

strengthen police cooperation against organized crime,

corruption, and terrorism. The ministers discussed the

need to harmonize European asylum and migration laws and

develop a strategy to bring Western Balkan countries in

line with European Union security standards. Interior

Minister Liese Prokop noted these issues would be

priorities for Austria's 2006 EU Presidency. European

Commission Vice President Franco Frattini addressed the

Forum on the European Union's Hague Program, which aims

to manage migration, strengthen security, and enhance law

enforcement and judicial cooperation. The ministers

issued a joint declaration at the conclusion of the

conference (see text, para 6). End Summary.

2. (U) Austria hosted the annual meeting of the Salzburg

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Forum in Graz on July 28-29, bringing together Interior

Ministers from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary,

Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania. The Austrian

Interior Ministry established the Forum in 2000 as a

means to intensify regional political and law enforcement

cooperation on European integration, border management,

illicit migration, human trafficking, organized crime,

corruption, and terrorism. The Salzburg Forum also

welcomed Romania as a new member. Bulgaria had also

received an invitation to attend and join the Salzburg

Forum, but was not able to send a representative to the

meeting because of a government crisis.

3. (SBU) In her opening remarks to the conference,

Austrian Interior Minister Liese Prokop outlined several

priorities for the Austrian EU Presidency in the first

half of 2006, including strengthening law enforcement

cooperation in the fight against terrorism, organized

crime, and corruption; and bringing Eastern European

asylum and migration policies in line with EU standards.

According to Prokop, expanding the Schengen agreement to

new member states and developing a strategy to enhance

border controls in the Balkans will also be focus areas.

"We must all work together toward establishing an equally

good security situation in Central Europe," Prokop said,

"and contribute jointly toward more security in our

eastern, southeastern, and also northern and northeastern

periphery. If we do that, we act in not only our own

interest, but also in the interest of the European

Union." Prokop also set the stage for the 4-5 May 2006

Council of EU Foreign and Interior Ministers. Austria is

working closely with its European Union counterparts to

draft a "Vienna Declaration," a strategy for combating

transnational crime and standardizing border controls.

4. (U) EU Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)

Franco Frattini addressed the Forum on the importance of

implementing the EU's "Hague Program" for security in

Central Europe. Frattini stressed that the current

threat from international terrorism made the Hague

Program measures indispensable. Frattini urged closer

cooperation in the fight against terrorism: "The special

geographic situation of central Europe makes it

particularly sensitive to big trends in illegal migration

and organized crime like trafficking of drugs and of

human beings. In a few years' time, the border controls

between Austria, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic,

Slovakia, and Hungary will be abolished. This situation

makes that the Central European states are key players

for the security gambit (sic) of the EU," Frattini said.

Under the Hague Program, Frattini added, the EU

Commission will promote greater exchange of law

enforcement information, including criminal records and

arrests warrants. Frattini emphasized that in the

aftermath of the July bombings in London, the European

Council (EU Summit)"strengthens the commitment to

combating terrorism and upholding the principles of

freedom, security, and justice."

5. (U) Text of Joint Declaration: "The Ministers of the

Salzburg Forum in Graz on 28th and 29th July 2005 note

with satisfaction that cooperation within the framework

of the Salzburg Declaration 2001 has been very

successful. In particular, the accession of the Czech

Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and Slovakia as full

Members to the European Union opened a new dimension for

this process, bearing in mind the increased importance of

regional cooperation in the enlarged EU. Following the

agreement of the Salzburg Forum meeting in Budapest on 22

April 2005, the Ministers herewith welcome the

participation of Romania in the work of the Salzburg

Forum. With special regard to the present challenges to

be faced by the EU, the Ministers of the Salzburg Forum

wish to express in the presence of Vice President

Frattini their confidence in the continuation of the

process of European integration and their firm support to

the principles of the Hague Program and its

implementation." End Text.

Van Voorst

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