The Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe
The Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) was signed in Vienna on 5 May 2006 by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. Albania is the depositary of the Convention.
The Convention entered into force on 11 July 2008 after concluding the relevant internal legal procedures in all Contracting Parties.To April 2016 the PCC SEE Contracting Parties are Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
The subject of the Convention is the strengthening of the cooperation between the Contracting Parties in combating threats to public safety and/or order, as well as prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences.
The Convention envisages different forms of cooperation and practically it is a kind of analog of the Schengen Convention. The Convention introduces Schengen standards of cooperation on improving the police interaction in the region, in order to gradually achieve compliance with the EU standards on police cooperation in all Western Balkan countries.
In July 2008 the Council of Ministers introduced a proposal for ratification of the Convention by Bulgaria. The Law on ratification was adopted by the National Assembly on 25 September 2008. According to the adopted Law the Convention was ratified with two reservations:
- Exchange of classified information only with the countries – Contracting Parties to the Convention with which there are international agreements on protection of the classified information in force.
- Transfer of personal data with countries – Contracting Parties to the Convention, after a permission of the Commission for Personal Data Protection (in compliance with Chapter VI of the Law for Protection of Personal Data).
The Convention entered into force for Bulgaria on 1 March 2009 after carrying out the necessary procedures for notification.
Main bodies of the Convention are:
- Committee of Ministers, composed of the competent Ministers of the Contracting Parties. It decides unanimously on the interpretation, application and implementation of the Convention;
- Expert Working Group (EWG) – supreme supervisory body, which will observe the implementation of the Convention, give proposals to the Committee for improvements of the Convention provisions.
With a Decision of the Committee of Ministers, dated 17 November 2009, is introduced the rotating Chairmanship of the Convention for period of 6 months, following the alphabetical order, effective form 1 January 2010. The last Bulgarian Chairmanship, according of this procedure, was in the second half of 2014.
According of the rules of procedure of the Convention, EWG could form thematic working groups for the technical application of the Convention, as well as ad hoc groups. In the Decision for their formation, EWG determines the term of the groups.
The Commission for Personal Data Protection, through its representative, participates in the Working Group for Data Protection within the Convention. The new format of the group includes one representative of the Ministry of Interior and a representative of the supervisory authority on data protection of each of the Contracting Parties.
The first meeting on the new format of the Working Group for Data Protection was held from 16 to 18 December 2015 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Up to this moment, the group acted as the Ad hoc Working Group for Data Protection. In accordance with the new term, the meeting participants discussed the specific tasks of the group to ensure the achievement of the overall objectives of the Convention while maintaining data protection standards. The ultimate goal is to make cross-border police cooperation in the full implementation of the provisions relating to data protection and information sharing, built on the European and international practice.