The European Union's French presidency on Friday called on Balkan countries aspiring to join the 27-nation bloc to establish tight cooperation in their fight against organized crime, TehranTimes reported.
""Regional cooperation of criminal networks should be answered through regional cooperation of the concerned police forces,"" French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told journalists in Zagreb.
She was speaking at the end of an informal meeting of justice and interior ministers from southeastern Europe and EU representatives.
The participants notably discussed the trafficking of weapons and humans, said Alliot-Marie.
""We have decided to deepen and boost our cooperation"" including Europol, she said.
The French minister stressed the ""need to fight against networks who do not care about borders, or barriers between communities.""
The cooperation should be achieved through common police units, coordinated raids against arms producers and smugglers and the creation of a database of these persons, she added.
The two-day gathering was attended by ministers from Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as French Justice Minister Rachida Dati and the EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot.
The seven countries are at different stages of their path towards the European Union, led by Croatia which aspires to enter the bloc in 2011 at the latest.
The Balkan region is used by organized crime gangs to smuggle drugs, arms, cigarettes and people into western Europe.