The Salzburg Forum, based on an Austrian initiative taken in 2000,
is a platform for multilateral dialogue and cooperation on issues of internal security.
Its member states are Austria, Bulgaria,
the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Croatia has observer status in the Salzburg Forum.
The principal idea of the founding states of the Salzburg Forum in 2000 was
to support the European integration of Austria’s Eastern neighbours and
to facilitate their efforts towards EU accession. In the meantime,
all Salzburg Forum states have become EU Member States, sharing common security
interests and standards. Today, cooperation within the Salzburg Form is based on a threefold approach:
1. Strengthening operational cooperation in Central Europe
Operational cooperation in Central Europe is the first and foremost area
of cooperation of the Salzburg Forum. Building on their established practice
of close political and operational cooperation, the members of the Salzburg Forum
agreed at the Ministerial Conference in Innsbruck/Austria in July 2007 to work towards
establishing a “Central European Operational Network” (CEON). The legal framework of the
CEON is provided by the existing bilateral agreements and by EU legislation, including the
Prüm Decision. Important fields of cooperation include the exchange of liaison officers,
the gradual development of the joint contact offices into comprehensive police cooperation centres
(Common Centres), mutual support for the full implementation and application of the Prüm Decision,
and joint patrols in border areas. This network enables the Salzburg Forum members to effectively
cooperate in the fields of border management, legal and illegal migration, traffic policing,
witness protection, police education and training, crisis management, travel documents, major events,
DNA data exchange, terrorism prevention and others.
2. Joint lobbying for EU policy-making
Lobbying in the European Union is a crucial element of EU policy-making.
Being aware of this fact, EU Member States are trying to promote their own
policies and ideas in their relations with both EU institutions and other
Member States. For small and medium-sized countries it is particularly important
to have partners that support their ideas. Therefore, the Salzburg Forum members
coordinate their policies, positions and initiatives on the EU level in order to
achieve a higher degree of effectiveness for the individual countries and the region as a whole.
Together, the Salzburg Forum states hold a total of 96 votes in the Justice and Home Affairs Council.
This enables them to take an influence on EU decisions under the qualified majority voting regime and to
draw attention to Salzburg Forum policies and ideas.
3. Implementation of a joint external strategy of the Salzburg Forum
In order to further promote security in the heart of Europe and support the implementation
of EU security standards, the Salzburg Forum developed a strategy for its external dimension,
with a particular focus on neighbouring regions. During the Ministerial Conference in Innsbruck/Austria
in July 2007, Ministers of the Salzburg Forum agreed to set up a Group of Friends of the Salzburg Forum
as a platform for close cooperation with third countries, currently with a special emphasis on the Western Balkan
countries. The first Group of Friends from the Western Balkans was established on the occasion of the Ministerial
Conference in Pleven/Bulgaria in September 2007.
This three-pronged approach of the Salzburg Forum, in line with the EU spirit, is intended to promote a regional
area of freedom, security and justice and to provide a platform for open and target-oriented discussions on European
security issues. Through a continuous and dynamic further development of their cooperation, the Salzburg Forum member
states are in a position to react quickly and unbureaucratically to current security threats.