A meeting of OSCE Mediterranean Points of Contact Network on Border Security and Management, organized by the Border Security and Management Unit of the OSCE Transnational Threats Department and the Spanish Policía Nacional concluded last week. The Spanish National Police hosted this meeting in Madrid on 4 and 5 July and brought together high-level participants from the border and customs services of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Morocco.
“We all belong to the Mediterranean region; therefore we share many cultural links and traditions. As representatives from Law Enforcement Agencies, we also face an increasing range of transnational threats affecting the whole region. Illegal immigration, trafficking in human beings and foreign terrorist fighters pose a major threat to global security and the Mediterranean route, that we all share due to our geographical situation, is heavily affected”, said Senior Police Commissioner Alicia Malo Sánchez, Head of the International Co-operation Division of the Spanish National Police, at the event’s opening.
Participants exchanged information on current border security related challenges in the region and have identified future training and co-operation needs. The Permanent Mission of North Macedonia, as Chair of the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation Group, presented its priorities while the Spanish National Police provided insight on its efforts to prevent and combat terrorist attacks and the cross-border travel of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF).
Participants also engaged in interactive exercises on behavioral analysis and on the identification of FTFs at the borders. International expert and former FBI Agent Bret Hood conducted this segment, which examined harmful biases and stereotyping in this context, including a gender and human rights perspective.
The highlight was a study visit to the Spanish National Coordination Center for Border Crossing Points (CEFRONT), where participants were introduced to the European Union’s “Smart Borders” project and the work of the Center on preventing and identifying the cross-border travel of FTFs and perpetrators of cross-border crimes.
This meeting was the ninth activity of the OSCE’s initiative aimed at strengthening co-operation mechanisms between the border security and management agencies of the OSCE participating States and the Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation.