On 1-2 December, the border management authorities of the European Union and the League of Arab States gathered in the first-ever Euro-Arab Border Security Conference in Amman, Jordan, to discuss how to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in response to global challenges.
The conference was a joint initiative of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, and the General Secretariat of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council (AIMC) of the League of Arab States (LAS), and was held under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Jordan, Mr Bisher Al Khasawneh, represented by Minister of Interior and the Public Security Directorate. The event brought together senior representatives from over 40 states, relevant EU and the LAS bodies, as well as representatives of international organisations.
In his opening speech, Jordan’s Minister of Interior H.E. Mr Mazin Abdellah Hilal Al Farrayeh emphasised that border control is a significant common challenge and the need to galvanise cooperation within a Euro-Arab framework in addition to exchanging experiences and knowledge.
The EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Mr Olivér Várhelyi, reaffirmed the EU’s continued commitment to closely cooperate with the Arab partners on border protection, fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings as well as organised crime.
In line with these priorities, the participants have gathered to build trust and expand networks between the border authorities of the two regions, especially with regards to addressing common challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and sharing experiences of the effective and efficient use of new technologies to facilitate mobility while ensuring security of our communities.
Europe and the Arab countries do not only share common borders and security concerns, but also a duty to protect our citizens and communities, – highlighted Executive Director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri.
H.E. Dr Mohamed Bin Ali Koman, Secretary-General of the AIMC, praised the cooperation with Frontex and EU agencies especially in the context of common criminal threats, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal migration.
The conference was organised in the broader framework of the high-level strategic dialogue to develop Euro-Arab operational cooperation on security issues. The dialogue was initiated in 2015 and reiterated during the summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in 2019, where the leaders of the Member States of the EU and the League of Arab States agreed to strengthen their existing strategic partnership and cooperation.
The conference is a flagship activity of the EU4BorderSecurity project, funded by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and implemented by Frontex, with an objective to enhance border security and integrated border management in the Southern Mediterranean.