Belgian and Serb police to cooperate

The treaty provides for improvements to the way in which information is exchanged between both countries’ police services and is intended to be a step forward in both countries’ efforts to tackle terrorism. The Head of the Federal Police Service Catherine De Bolle was present at the signing.

Up until now there was some cooperation on between the Belgian and Serb police. However, as Serbia is not in the EU this has been via the international police organisation Interpol.

The new cooperation accord provides for a direct line of information exchange between both countries police services.

Mr Jambon says that the agreement will also help Belgium in the fight against terrorism.

"One of the routes taken by jihadi returning from Syria passes through Serbia. If the Serbs have information about who they need to look out for they can stop them and inform us”.

The cooperation between Belgian and Serb police should also help combat the issue of the gangs, some of whom from Serbia, that commit violent burglaries in Western European countries including Belgium.

In addition to this, better cooperation with the Serbs should also help with the asylum crisis. Serbia is just outside the EU and is on the so-called “Balkan Route” that human traffickers use to smuggle illegal immigrants into the EU.

The Interior Minister stressed that there is goodwill present among the Serb authorities to cooperate with Belgium in tackling organized crime.

"In my contacts with my Serb counterpart I note that there is a firm will it tackle crime”.

The treaty doesn’t come into force straight away, it still needs to be passed by both countries’ parliament.