• Marinela Gremi

Croatia, 14-16 November 2023 - Last week, with the aim of strengthening cooperation and learning from shared experiences, a delegation from the Department of Border and Migration at the Albanian State Police embarked on a three-day study visit to Croatia. Facilitated by IOM, under the Western Balkans Integrated Border Management Capacity Building Facility (WBIBM), this visit aimed to foster knowledge exchange and address mutual challenges encountered by border enforcement authorities.

Day One, 14 November 2023: Exploring Organizational Structures and Procedures with Croatian Border Police Authorities

The journey commenced with a welcome from Croatia's Border Police Directorate representatives at the General Police Directorate. Discussions proceeded on organizational frameworks, operational methodologies, and infrastructure employed by the Croatian Border Police. Key focus areas included aligning working procedures, understanding the challenges inherent in EU and Schengen Area entry, and sharing insights on border policing strategies.

The visit extended to the National Coordination Centre and Franjo Tudman Airport, providing an in-depth understanding of infrastructure, tasks, and alterations in border control procedures before and after the entrance of Croatia into the Schengen Area.

Day Two, 15 November 2023: On-sight learning of border procedures with Croatian Police Stations

The second day delved into ground-level operations. Visits to Cetingrad Border Police Station and Maljevač Border Crossing Point enabled firsthand experiences of operational procedures, challenges in managing irregular migration flows, and navigating the green border. The delegation witnessed Croatia's border interception technologies, including stationary cameras, drones, and other high-tech tools employed for effective border management.

Conversations with counterparts at the Maljevač Border Crossing Point highlighted joint operations between Croatian and Bosnian Border Police, emphasizing collaborative efforts in executing daily tasks.

Day Three, 16 November 2023: Navigating Maritime Borders with Rijeka Maritime Police

Shifting the focus to maritime borders, the delegation engaged with Rijeka Maritime Police Station officials. Discussions revolved around challenges encountered by maritime border structures, highlighting infrastructure, technological capabilities, and operational procedures. A tour aboard a maritime police vessel provided invaluable insights into daily activities, showcasing firsthand the complexities and strategies involved in managing maritime borders effectively.

In conclusion, the visit demonstrated the importance of cross-border cooperation in addressing multifaceted challenges encountered in border management. The exchange of insights, best practices, and technological advancements, emphasized the importance of shared learning in enhancing border security throughout the entire visit.