Schengen Cooperation and Combating Cross-border and Organised Crime, including Trafficking and Itinerant Criminal Groups

Key facts

Programme Operator:
Ministry of Interior
Programme ID:
In implementation
Programme Donors
National Police Directorate (POD)
Date of approval:
Total amount:
EEA Grants fund:
Norway Grants fund:
€ 6,000,000

Currently available funding

Programme Summary

Why is the programme needed? The Bulgarian police are confronted with a number of challenges. According to Europol, the EU’s police agency, “the south east hub” of which Bulgaria is a part has seen the greatest expansion in organised crime in recent years. The illegal activity to/from the former Soviet Union is increasing, especially through the Black Sea. Bulgaria should soon become a full member of the Schengen area. When this happens, Bulgaria will be one of the entry points into a large borderless area. Trafficking in human beings is a serious problem. Bulgaria is a “source country”, which means that many of the victims of trafficking found in other (European) countries are from Bulgaria. Ethnic Roma are particularly vulnerable to becoming trafficking victims. Bulgaria has adopted a new law on the confiscation of assets. The law reflects increased international focus on the importance of hitting the criminals where it hurts the most, i.e. by seizing their illegally acquired money and property. What will the programme achieve? The programme will improve the capacity of the Bulgarian law enforcement agencies – the police, border police and the services for combating organised crime – in fighting crime in Bulgaria, including through the confiscation of assets. At the same time, the programme will strengthen the law enforcement services capacity to participate in European police cooperation. Bulgaria’s system for combatting trafficking in human beings will be reinforced as well as its set-up for assisting victims of this crime. How will it be achieved? The Council of Europe (CoE) has recently evaluated Bulgaria’s respects of its commitments in fighting trafficking in human beings and the protection the victims of this crime. Norway Grants will make it possible for Bulgaria to follow-up the recommendations made in the evaluation report. Experts from the CoE will assist Bulgaria in implementing the new on the confiscation of assets and developing an asset recovery system which respects international standards. Norway Grants will allow the Bulgarian police to upgrade and enlarge a secure communication network, but also to buy technical equipment to analyse crime scenes, combat cyber-crime and to train police officers in international police cooperation. Bulgarian police officers will also be trained in human rights and community policing.  How will bilateral relations be strengthened?  The Norwegian police will cooperate with the Bulgarian partners on one project (exchange of experience on European police cooperation and the use of databases). The Council of Europe will be involved in two projects; on training police officers on alternative ways of solving problems, including the legitimate use of force, human rights and community policing, especially in Roma communities, and on asset recovery. What are the partnership opportunities? There are not likely to be any partnership opportunities beyond the cooperation with the Council of Europe and/or the Norwegian Directorate of Police (POD). Who can apply for funding under this programme? See above.