It is high time the Danube Coordination Centre was set up – said Minister of Interior, Sándor Pintér at the opening conference of the Danube River Forum in Budapest. The establishment of the centre and the definition of operation principles is a common task – added the Minister of Interior.
Nine invited countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Germany, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia an Ukraine along with numerous EU organizations participate at the two-day conference.
According to Minister Pintér the Danube is a great treasure for Hungary but it can be dangerous as well. Referring to the winter ice and the floods of summer, he recalled that the river covered more than 10 thousand acres of land and in Germany and Austria taking several victims as well.
Minister Pintér mentioned that according to a 2011 Europol study the Danube is highly endangered by human trafficking, illegal migration, smuggling and trafficking of drug and weapons. According to the Minister, the European Commission made an appropriate decision by adding the battle against organized crime to the priorities of the Danube Strategy.
As a part of this strategy Hungary establishes the Danube Coordination Centre that has to encompass several fields including water police cooperation, disaster management, civil protection, common law enforcement, border protection and water traffic management.
The Minister of Interior emphasized that after the financial crisis the increase of passenger traffic and trade can be expected, however this does not only include tourists, but criminals as well. Minister Pintér also added that the South-East border of Hungary has been crossed by 18 thousand people illegally – plenty of them arrived on the rivers. The criminal deeds in the Danube region can be cut back by the appropriate flow of information, cooperation in law enforcement and joint actions – he stressed.
Source: Ministry of Interior