The European Union Border Patrol and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have begun discussing different techniques that will be used to prevent document fraud in the EU, according to a press release issued by FRONTEX.
The meeting specifically references document fraud issues and prevention for Southeastern Europe.
During the meeting, officials reaffirmed the need for the strategic role of document verification for combating both border security issues and cross-border crime.
A special emphasis, according to the press release, was put on combatting document fraud in the context of Covid-19 documents, which has been an emerging and prevalent issue.
A panel of expert representatives created a list of minimum capabilities for document verification at border control points that was to add on to their list of recommendations made in 2019. The recommendations were then issued jointly by ICMPD, INTERPOL, IOM, Frontex, OSCE, and other law enforcement agencies.
In addition, participating competent organizations can now share and collaborate on documents in a protected environment, which is the OSCE’s POLIS platform. The platform was presented during the meeting and will give participating organizations the possibility to contribute to the list of minimum recommended capabilities for document checks in border control.
During the meeting, experts from the Frontex Centre of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud highlighted the need for cooperation between international, regional, and national organizations in order to effectively fight organized and cross-border crime. The Centre’s message was made specifically to stress document fraud prevention and document verification.
According to the press release, the meeting included 30 representatives from regional and international organizations. The meeting also included representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro North Macedonia, and Serbia.
The issue of document fraud has been a prevalent problem for as long as official documents have been required by authorities.
In the context of Covid-19, border closures and sustained entry restrictions have caused governments to require official documentation for travel and business purposes. This has in-turn created a black market for fraudulent documents, and many document fraudsters have been caught in several Schengen and EU countries fraudulently creating documents for willing buyers.
Document fraud is, however, an extremely crucial issue to combat in the context of cross-border organized crime and human trafficking. Gangsters and human traffickers will create fraudulent documents to cross borders and smuggle people across them. In this light, it is imperative to detect as many fraudulent documents as possible to achieve the EU’s goals for eliminating human trafficking and cross-border crime.