IPA North Macedonia hold successful Balkan-Adriatic Meeting

23 Apr 2022


IPA North Macedonia hosted the 6th Balkan-Adriatic Conference dedicated to the "Migrant Crisis and the countries of the Balkan-Adriatic Region" in the IPA Skopje Region from 12 to 14 November 2021. Delegations from 9 out of 16 member states, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania and Montenegro, plus the host North Macedonia, took part, and delegations from Germany, Poland and Israel attended as observer countries.

BAmeeting2The meeting also welcomed guests from the IPA Skopje twin region of Halle/Saale from Germany, Zagreb from Croatia, Timisoara from Romania, Brčko from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Niš from Serbia, Burgas from Bulgaria and Regija Jug from Montenegro. On Friday evening a friendship dinner was held for all.

On 12 November 2021, the conference was attended by the Minister of the Interior Mr. Oliver Spasovski, the Director of the Public Security Bureau Mr. Saso Tasevski, representatives of FRONTEX, IOED, the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia, Mr. Darko Dimovski, the North Macedonian Police Union led by Mr. Marjan Kicev, the assistant director Mr. Toni Stankovski and the Chief of SIA Skopje, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, as well as delegations from all regions of the country.

The President of IPA North Macedonia, Mr. Robertino Acevski and the President of the IPA Region Skopje, Mr. Igno Stojkov opened the conference with their welcoming speeches. This was followed by a speech of The Director of the Public Security Bureau, Mr. Tasevski, who addressed the attendees on the topic this year's conference "The Migrant Crisis and the Countries of the Balkan-Adriatic Region". In his speech, Mr. Tasevski welcomed the delegations on behalf of the Public Security Bureau and as an IPA member, and highlighted the objectives of the IPA. Regarding the migrant crisis, Mr Tasevski stated that illegal crossing through the Western Balkan and Adriatic route was still active, used by migrants from the Middle East and Africa on their route to Western European countries, mostly for security or economic reasons. Attempts to cross the border illegally to North Macedonia showed a downward trend of 36.5 %, more than 60% for detected cases of migrant smuggling, and a decrease of the number of new asylum applications by 70%. He detailed that the joint organisation and coordination for intensified surveillance of the southern border, by hiring police officers from abroad, continued, with police officers from eight countries participating in this activity in joint mixed patrols with members of the border police, with the aim of preventing attempts for illegal entry or exit of migrants from the Republic of Greece, as well as detecting cases of migrant smuggling.

The Minister of the Interior, Mr. Spasovski, also addressed the Conference, welcoming the delegates and guests on behalf of the Ministry and thanking for the invitation. He emphasised that the IPA family was constantly growing, from about 50 enthusiastic police officers from the Ministry of the Interior in the beginning, to over 7,000 members today, with numerous international activities and contacts around the world. He referred to the organisation of several international events, including the Central-Eastern European and the Mediterranean Conference in 2022, and stressed that the commitment, enthusiasm and work of IPA North Macedonia was recognised internationally, resulting in the allocation of the IPA World Congress 2024.

Mr Spasovski welcomed the IPA humanitarian actions with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, in which IPA members, as well as companies and individuals helped secure and distribute protective equipment intended for police officers on the front lines. He concluded by giving his full support to the IPA, stating he was convinced the conference would continue to deepen international police cooperation. He wished for successful discussions, as well as a strengthening of friendships – existing and new.

IPA Vice President Mr. Kyriakos Karkalis from Greece also addressed the conference, via video link. He congratulated IPA North Macedonia on organising a highly successful regional meeting and expressed his thanks to President Robertino Acevski for the opportunity to address the delegates by video conference.

The second working session of the Conference included a presentation by the Secretary General of the IPA Region Skopje, Mr. Igor Manojloski, on the migrant crisis, prepared in cooperation with the Department for Border Police, and a video presentation by Mr. George Demetriou and Mr. Kyriakos Perikleous from IPA Cyprus, on the IPA International Folklore Festival, taking place in Cyprus in 2022. In addition, Mr. Vojislav Dragović, Vice President of IPA Montenegro, held a presentation on the IPA Games 2022 in Bar, plus Mr. Eran Israel, Secretary General of IPA Israel and member of the IPA Socio-Cultural Commission addressed the meeting.

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At the end of the working sessions, the flag of the Balkan-Adriatic Group was handed to the President of IPA Bosnia and Herzegovina, as host of the next Balkan-Adriatic Meeting in 2022. The conference was closed by the President of IPA North Macedonia, after which all delegations exchanged gifts and were awarded with coins dedicated to the 10th anniversary of IPA North Macedonia.

In the afternoon, all guests visited the "STOBI" winery in Gradsko for a wine tasting session, and the gala dinner in the “Denicija” restaurant in Skopje was attended by over 200 guests. On 14 November, all delegates were invited to the opening of the new IPA North Macedonia & IPA Region Skopje offices.

We take this opportunity to thank all our members who were involved in the organisation of this conference, and our IPA friends who helped and supported us both with the Conference and the new IPA offices.

Igor Manojloski, Secretary General IPA North Macedonia