The Salzburg Forum is an informal initiative which brings together the interior ministers of the Central European countries. The Salzburg Forum was created on the initiative of Austria. The cooperation within the Salzburg Forum began with the signing of a Partnership Declaration on Security Cooperation – the so-called Salzburg Declaration – by the interior ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary and by the EU Commissioner for Security and Internal Affairs in July 2001. The Salzburg Declaration was an expression of political will as regards creating a Common Europe based on a new concept of security and justice for all European citizens, as well as prioritising the entire region of Central Europe.
The Salzburg Forum member states are: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Moreover, in 2007, a Group of Friends of the Salzburg Forum was established, with a special emphasis on inviting firstly the Western Balkan countries, and then Moldova.
The main areas of cooperation within the Salzburg Forum include: police cooperation, cooperation in the area of border control, combating illegal immigration, policy on asylum and exchanging views on EU-related matters.
The Salzburg Forum member states hold six-month Presidencies in an alphabetical order. Poland held the Presidency of the Salzburg Forum in the first half of 2009 and in the first half of 2013.
The G6 Group, in operation since 2003, is an informal initiative in the area of internal security, bringing together the interior ministers of the largest EU Member States: Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Poland (since March 2006).
The Group is consultations and arrangements forum on current issues concerning the EU internal security, including inter alia strengthening joint actions aimed at combating organised crime and terrorism, as well as efficient borders protection and counteracting illegal immigration.
During the Polish Presidency of the G6 Group, a meeting of the interior ministers of the G6 member states and USA was held in February 2014 in Kraków.
The Visegrad Group, established in 1991, is a consultation and cooperation forum for 4 Central European countries, i.e. Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, in many areas of common priorities and interest of its partners. The convergence of foreign policies and geographical location provided an impulse for establishing regional cooperation.
The Ministry of the Interior is involved within the V4 in projects aiming at enhancing internal security, particularly in terms of cooperation between police services, border authorities, migration and asylum issues, rescue services and civil protection.
The work under this initiative is led by individual countries during their respective Presidencies. Poland held the Presidency of the V4 Group from July 2012 until June 2013. The objective of Poland’s Presidency was the further strengthening of the V4 countries’ position on the international scene, consolidating the effects of EU enlargement, supporting initiatives enhancing cohesion in the region and contributing to its greater internal integration. A significant issue for Poland’s Presidency of the V4 Group was the broadly understood “regional cohesion”, and thus also pursuing better coordination of the V4 countries’ activities in key areas of the European agenda (i.a. fight against terrorism).
Civilian crisis management missions
Civilian crisis management missions of the European Union are carried out outside the EU within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy.
The Ministry of the Interior is involved in the following EU missions:
- EULEX Kosovo – the mission was established under the document of the Council of the European Union – “Council Joint Action 2008/124/CFSP of 4 February 2008 on the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX KOSOVO” (http://www.eulex-kosovo.eu/),
- EUMM Georgia – the decision on launching this mission was taken in Brussels on 15 September 2008 in response to a conflict which had broken out in Georgia in August 2008 (http://www.eumm.eu/),
- EUPOL Afghanistan – the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL Afghanistan) was established by Council of the European Union Decision of 30 May 2007 (http://www.eupol-afg.eu/),
- EUBAM Moldova/Ukraine – the European Commission’s EUBAM mission at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border was launched on 30 November 2005 following a joint request submitted by Moldova and Ukraine to the European Commission (http://www.eubam.org/).
Ministerial Forum for Member States of the Schengen Area with External Land Borders
On the initiative of the interior ministers of Poland and Finland, in September 2013 the Ministerial Forum for Member States of the Schengen Area with External Land Borders was established and joined by the following countries at the time of its setting up: Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia, and subsequently Norway, Romania and Hungary were also invited to join this group.
The Forum aims at promoting multilateral cooperation, dialogue and sharing best practices on the challenges faced by Ministries of the Interior related to the issue of managing external land borders, as well as supporting work carried out at the EU level in this regard.
So far three ministerial meetings of the forum have been held: in Finland, Poland and Estonia, as well as a series of expert meetings in support of the work carried out by the Ministerial Forum for Member States of the Schengen Area with External Land Borders.