Serbia is geo-positioned on the so-called “Balkan route”, used by criminals networks for smuggling and trafficking people, drugs, weapons, as well as hazardous chemical and biological substances across the borders which pose risk for Serbian and European security.

To support fighting these threats and make borders both secure and open for the free movement of people and goods, the EU and Serbia have joined forces in a long term partnership.

The EU funded Sector Budget Support provides Serbia with a 28 M EUR donation, through the Sector Reform Contract (SRC) for Integrated Border Management (IBM).

This multi years programme supports Serbia’s capacities to effectively control its borders, safeguard national security, reduces organised crime and irregular migration, while ensuring smooth border crossing for legitimate travellers, goods, and services.

By amendment and harmonisation of Serbian laws and regulations with the EU acquis, the Sector Reform Contract (SRC) also contributes to EU integration process of Serbia and the achievements under Chapter 24 requirements, including better detection and deterring of all types of cross-border crimes, and more effective management of mixed migration flows.

“I am very happy to see that Serbia is going forward in the Integrated border management system for which the EU is donating 22.86 mil EUR grant. We have just released the third tranche of this package support “, said Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia.

Ambassador Sem Fabrizi added that harmonisation of Serbia’s border management protocols with EU standards means easier transport of goods, which goes in favour of economy and competitiveness of Serbia and the region. ’Travellers, tourists and economic operators coming to and from Serbia spend less time waiting at borders. This is a plus for the economy and the people thanks to significant progress achieved under the Sector Reform Contract, concluded Fabrizi.

“Precisely with the intention of ensuring a faster flow of people and goods across our border, within the IPA programme for 2016, non-refundable funds were allocated which improved the cooperation of border services and their capacities.” In this way, we have contributed to the Serbian border being open to free flow, and at the same time protected from illegal activities. Thus, we have greatly improved the security of Serbia, but also of our region and Europe as a whole. We can be especially satisfied with the fact that the EU funds intended for these purposes have been fully used, and for the benefit of our citizens and the economy,” said Jadranka Joksimović, Minister for European Integration.

Thanks to upgraded infrastructure, equipment and border surveillance, and training courses, the Sector Reform Contract have greatly improved the efficiency and quality of the work of the Border Police and other Serbian border agencies to manage more effectively flows of persons, transport and goods via borders and tackle irregular migration.

One particular important achievement in implementing SRC is an intensified flow and use of information data between and within the border agencies, increased number of joint intra-agency activities and improved international cooperation.