Enhanced criminal justice and improved cross-border cooperation between judicial and law enforcement authorities are essential for the EU and its Member States in order to effectively respond to the increasing threat of cross-border criminality. The last two EU enlargements resulted in significant changes in the Union’s external borders. Some of the countries that used to have such borders are now neighbours to other EU Member States. Their responsibilities regarding the security at the external borders are gradually transferred to new Member States which have become the outermost countries of the Union. The duties of these countries on protecting the external borders are yet to increase substantially. Further to Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union, the country’s frontiers with Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia, as well as its Black Sea border, have become external borders of the EU. Hence, border crossing-related criminal offences and customs violations no longer represent a problem of Bulgarian national security alone: they have turned into a problem of EU security.
This policy brief is a follow up to the 2007 CSD report Reinforcing Criminal Justice in Border Districts and examines the attitude of and measures undertaken by the relevant stakeholders as regards the policy recommendations formulated by the report.