EUBAM Advisory Board encourages to continue the good progress achieved in border management

On 16 September 2020, the 34th Advisory Board Meeting of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine took place in videoconference format. Representatives of the Foreign Ministries, border, customs and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the European Union Delegations to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and United Nations Development Programme participated in the meeting.

The Advisory Board appreciated the progress achieved by the Mission and its Partner Services in the challenging situation emerged due to COVID-19 outbreak and encouraged the parties to continue working with the same dedication and high professionalism. EUBAM’s and its Partner Services’ sustained contribution to launching an inclusive dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol, as well as the support to the establishment of joint control along Moldova-Ukraine state border, together with the efforts in preventing, detecting and investigating cross-border crimes were among the most important achievements highlighted by the Advisory Board.

The European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko welcomed and appreciated the commitment of the Moldovan and Ukrainian partners to the EU Border Assistance Mission, including during the COVID-19 situation and the complications it brought with it. “Over the next period, I hope and I trust that collectively we can mark progress in further rolling out the joint border control concept along the Moldova-Ukraine border, so that citizens on both sides can travel easier from one side to the other. EUBAM’s contribution towards offering and implementing EU expertise and best practices in border management is testimony to the European Union’s lasting partnership with both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, on the one hand, and a clear expression of its will to further assist in resolving the Transnistrian issue, on the other.”

The European Union Ambassador to Ukraine, H.E. Matti Maasikas emphasized the particular importance of smooth and transparent border management cooperation in the current challenging times: “Joint border crossing points reduce waiting times for people and goods which is important also from an epidemiological point of view. They are effective in fighting cross border crime and smuggling. The EU has finalised the reconstruction of two border crossing points between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and provided substantial investment. Now, we encourage the Ukrainian side to also go ahead with agreed renovation works and provision of infrastructure in order to swiftly launch joint border operations, to the benefit of people and trade.”

Mr Gheorghe Leucă, State Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova appreciated EUBAM’s valuable expertise and assistance offered to the national authorities of both countries over the last ten months in achieving progress under all three pillars. „Despite the emerging difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Mission continued to advance the work on supporting confidence building measures, implementing integrated border management and combating cross-border crime. We remain convinced that EUBAM represents a substantial tool for border management and risk analysis in line with the interests of the population of both countries, Moldova and Ukraine. Hence, we reconfirm our interest in working further with the Mission aimed at ensuring stability and security in the region.”

Mr. Serhii Saienko, Deputy Director General of the Directorate for the European Union and the NATO of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated „We cannot overestimate the Mission’s contribution to the infrastructure development of BCPs to be launched in October this year and increasing the technical equipment level of the Ukrainian-Moldovan borders. We highlight joint actions lead by EUBAM to counter illicit trafficking in arms /CBRN materials within the recently established Working Group and other violations during joint operations and investigations in the border areas.”

Head of EUBAM Mr Slawomir Pichor said: “I would like to express my deep respect and appreciation to all the professionals serving in the Moldovan and Ukrainian border and customs services for their excellent spirit of cooperation and passion demonstrated while carrying out their work during these challenging times, and also to extend my particular gratitude to the Governments of both hosting countries for their trust to continue our joint success story called EUBAM”.

The next meeting of the Advisory Board will be held in January 2021.

 

EUBAM Advisory Board encourages the national authorities to continue the modernization of the border management

On 27 November 2019, the 33rd Advisory Board Meeting of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine took place in Chisinau in the presence of representatives from the Foreign Ministries, border, customs and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and United Nations Development Programme.

EUBAM’s and its Partner Services’ continuous and active cooperation, their work for strengthening confidence between Chisinau and Tiraspol, the opening of the Common Contact Point “Palanca” and efforts in combating cigarette smuggling were among the most important achievements highlighted by the Advisory board. Moreover, the Advisory board encouraged the Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities to take advantage of the benefits brought by the mechanism of joint control and to expand it to new locations along their common border.

European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko highlighted that “over recent years, EUBAM has again been instrumental in supporting the competent authorities in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in further implementing the Integrated Border Management Concept, providing technical assistance to the Transnistrian settlement process and assisting in the fight against smuggling, among others, tobacco. Establishing the Common Contact Point for the Palanca-Maiaky-Udobne jointly operated border crossing point has been an important achievement that will serve as an example for tangible progress in the near future on further rolling out the joint border control concept”.

Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Mr Stefan Schleuning emphasized the important role carried by EUBAM within the EU’s actions in implementing the integrated border management concept in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. “As part of the EU funded project, a modern Palanca-Mayaki-Udobne joint border crossing point was established, resulting in significantly reducing the waiting times for people and goods. Thanks to the EU funding, reconstruction of two more border crossing points is being finalised. These modern border crossing points will ensure smooth and secure border traffic.” He added: “In order to achieve joint border control at Ukrainian-Moldovan border, authorities of both countries are invited to complete the border demarcation and implement the agreed Road Map for Joint Border Control.”

Ms Tatiana Molcean, State Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova expressed her gratitude for EUBAM’s practical contribution to the implementation of the joint working program and appreciated the Mission’s efforts in continuing with taking important steps for bringing outcomes under all three pillars. In this context, she also stated: “We would like to highlight the opening of the Common Contact Point “Palanca” specifically designed for fully-fledged joint control, which has advanced the implementation of the Integrated Border Management concept at the Moldova-Ukraine border. We encourage EUBAM to continue the result-oriented approach in order to achieve tangible progress thus contributing to ensuring stability and security in the region.”

Mr. Serhii Saienko, Acting Director General of the Directorate for the European Union and the NATO of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated the willingness to move towards joint customs and border control at border crossing points between Ukraine and Moldova, and reiterated the readiness to strengthen the interaction between the customs administrations of the two neighbouring countries in counteracting the smuggling of weapons, ammunition, drugs and fighting against the violation of customs rules in the movement of goods, including tobacco products, in particular through exchanging operational information and conducting special joint operations, inter alia involving the EUBAM and OLAF.

Head of EUBAM Mr Slawomir Pichor said that: “I want to extend my and EUBAM’s warm gratitude to our partner services in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine for their collective responsibility and commitment, and congratulate them for the excellent spirit and constructive nature of our cooperation. The important joint achievements we highlighted today made us to look with optimism to the next year of the Mission’s mandate”.

The Advisory Board Meeting will meet again in Odessa in June 2020.

Numerous weapons confiscated during the EU-coordinated Joint Operation “ORION”

Some 300 pieces small arms, almost 1,500 pieces of light weapons, more than 140,000 pieces ammunition and over 200 kg explosives were seized by the Moldovan and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies during a Joint Operation (JO) codenamed “ORION”, coordinated by the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) in cooperation with the European Union law enforcement agency (Europol).

Moreover, public awareness campaigns on voluntarily handing over the illegally possessed firearms, without facing any criminal liability, were organized during the JO “ORION” and proved to be also successful as 2,027 light weapons, 54 small arms and 2,025 ammunitions with different calibres, as well as 67 pneumatic and gas pistols were voluntary handed over by Moldovan and Ukrainian citizens.

The JO “ORION” was carried in three operational phases, from September 2018 till January 2019 and covered the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

Aiming at supporting the Ukrainian and Moldovan law enforcement agencies in counteracting the illicit trafficking of small arms, light weapons, ammunition, explosives and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials, the Operation was supported also by the border agencies from Slovakia, Romania and Poland as well as by Frontex and SELEC.

This Operation provided a great opportunity for information exchange on people, modi operandi and smuggling channels and it was part of EUBAM, Europol, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Member States’ common efforts undertaken to tackle the threats related to cross-border crime in the region and it contributed to improving the situational picture in illegal weapons trafficking.

In this context, Roberto Codesal, Head of Anaysis Project Weapons and Explosives at Europol, stated: “Joint Operation ORION is yet another example of how international cooperation is key to fighting the cross-border trafficking in firearms and explosives. The availability of such weapons poses a clear threat to global security, while also providing a lucrative profit stream for criminals.  Europol’s role, together with its partners, is to help countries remove illicit weapons from circulation, but most importantly, to dismantle the networks which facilitate their trade.”

The final results of Joint Operation “ORION” were shared during a debriefing meeting held in Odessa, Ukraine, on 17 July 2019, offering the participants the opportunity to discuss in-depth the results of the Operation and coordinate their efforts in further counteracting illicit fire arms trafficking.

“Joint Operation “ORION” proved to be a valuable tool for counteracting, testing risks and assessing the existing threats in the field of illicit weapons trafficking as well as strengthening the international cooperation”, said Slawomir Pichor, the Head of EUBAM Mission. “Due to these numerous seizures also the citizens’ security has been improved and we are very happy that the Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities make efforts in addressing this threat. I want to thank Europol for partnering us in coordinating this operation”, he added.

 

EUBAM Advisory Board commends the recent developments at the Moldova-Ukraine state border

On 27 June 2018,  the 32nd Advisory Board Meeting of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine took place in Odesa, in the presence of representatives from the Foreign Ministries, border, customs and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the European Union Delegations to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and United Nations Development Programme.

EUBAM’s support to Transnistria settlement process and confidence building measures, assistance to the implementation of Integrated Border Management concept and advisory operational support to preventing and combating cross-border crime were appreciated by the Advisory Board. In the same time, Partner Services and EUBAM’s efforts were very much welcomed as regards the launching of the newly constructed border crossing point Palanca-Mayaki-Udobne and Moldovan and Ukrainian border and customs agencies were encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity and make maximum use of this model for ensuring smooth and secure border traffic.

European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko stated that “EUBAM as an essential partner to the competent authorities in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine has enabled progress in all three areas of its mandate, which are delivering technical support to the Transnistrian settlement process, implementing the European Union’s Integrated Border Management Concept along the Moldovan/Ukrainian border and assisting the law enforcement authorities in fighting cross-border crime.  With a view to the future, EUBAM will continue to provide its assistance to the partners in order to achieve further progress on implementing joint border control after the successful examples of previously established Jointly Operated Border Crossing Points.  Doing so, the goal ultimately is to provide more comfort, more security to both citizens and economic operators”.

Mr Stefan Schleuning, Head of Cooperation, the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, emphasized the important role carried by EUBAM within the EU’s actions in implementing the integrated border management concept in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. “Opening of Palanca-Mayaki-Udobne border crossing point, constructed with EU’s financial support, is one of the concrete recent examples of such successful actions. This modern border crossing point will ensure smooth and secure border traffic. That’s why full commitment in further implementing the integrated border management concept should be ensured by all parties involved”, he mentioned.

H.E. Ion Stavila, Ambassador-at large within Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova appreciated the good cooperation between EUBAM and the authorities from the Republic of Moldova, and noted in particular that „The Mission continued to offer the necesary assistance in implementing integrating border management and strengthening institutional capacity of specialists from both banks of the Nistru River. We reconfirm our interest in working further in order to proceed with the joint control implementation at the Moldova-Ukraine border, with a particular attention to the central part of the border, for the benefit of both countries”.

Mr. Serhii Saienko, Acting Director General of the Directorate for the European Union and the NATO of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that, “EUBAM is considerably contributing to building capacities of customs and border services of Ukraine, advocating for reforms and fulfilment of Association Agreement (AA)/DCFTA commitments. I believe that the role and value of the EU, represented by EUBAM and EUAM Field Office in Odesa, go much wider promoting the EU standards in the area of European integration and further democratic development of both Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova”.

Head of EUBAM Mr Slawomir Pichor concluded that: “The significant developments made by our Partner Services with the Mission’s support, have been well appreciated both at the national and international level. The launching of the first border crossing point on the Moldova-Ukraine border designed specifically for full-fledged joint control together with the new initiatives in the area of confidence building measures as well as the establishment of the Inter-agency Regional Analytical Group aimed at regular assessment of risks and threats in Odesa region gives us trust that we will continue together this challenging, but so important and rewarding work and we will extend our list of achievements”.

The Advisory Board will meet again in Chisinau in November 2019.

MEDIA ADVISORY: 32nd Advisory Board Meeting of the European Union Border Assistance to Moldova and Ukraine

On Thursday, 27 June 2019, the 32nd Advisory Board Meeting (ABM) of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) will take place in Odesa.  The meeting will focus on Mission’s progress with the implementation of its current mandate during November 2018 – May 2019.

A press-conference is foreseen to take place at 13.00 at the Reception House of Odesa Regional Council Sanatornyi Lane no 2, Odesa. It is expected that the following speakers will take part:

Ambassador  Peter Michalko Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova
Mr Stefan Schleuning Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine
Mr Slawomir Pichor Head of EUBAM
Ms Tatiana Molcean State Secretary,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova
Mr Serhii Saienko Acting Director of Directorate General for the European Union and NATO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Journalists who wish to attend are invited to contact Ms Iryna Shoukaliuk (e-mail: iryna.shoukaliuk@eubam.org, cell: +380 504 925 782)

Audio-visual coverage will be provided by EUBAM Media and Communication Office and the press conference will be streamed live on EUBAM Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EUBAM-EU-Border-Assistance-Mission-to-Moldova-and-Ukraine-253774712264/)

EUBAM welcomes the launching of a joint initiative for counteracting cross-border crime in Odesa region

On 1 March 2019, the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) together with the law enforcement agencies from Odesa region launched a joint initiative for counteracting cross-border crime, by signing a Protocol on ‘Inter-agency Regional Analytical Group’. The event took place at EUBAM premises in Odesa, in the presence of the Head of EUBAM and the regional managers of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Security Service of Ukraine, National Police of Ukraine and State Fiscal Service of Ukraine.

The initiative of launching the Interagency Regional Analytical Group is part of EUBAM and its Partner Services’ joint efforts to prevent and combat cross-border crime on the Moldova-Ukraine border and has been negociated and agreed upon during several consultative sessions. The regular assessment of risks and threats, reinforced cooperation and exchange of information among the law-enforcement agencies are expected to be the main achievements of the new initiative.

“Signing of this Protocol today is an important step forward towards, setting up a united front to tackle cross-border crime and bringing more security in Odesa region. One single agency cannot address these threats, that is why, pulling resources, sharing intelligence and coordinating our efforts via this newly established initiative will provide a quick and consolidated response to cross-border crime. Together we are stronger”, stated Slawomir Pichor, Head of EUBAM Mission.

EUBAM Advisory Board welcomes the continuous and active cooperation between the Mission and its Partner Services

On 28 November 2018,  the 31st Advisory Board Meeting of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine took place in Chisinau in the presence of representatives from the Foreign Ministries, border, customs and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the European Union Delegations to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and United Nations Development Programme.

EUBAM’s continuous and active cooperation with its Partner Services was welcomed by the Advisory Board that highlighted the Mission’s efforts towards, among othere, strengthening Intellectual Property Rights protection, as well as its support to implementing a mechanism for access of passenger vehicles from Transnistria to international road traffic. The Partner Services’ efforts in developing the Road Map laying out the expansion of the joint control to the border crossings points at the Moldova-Ukraine border for the period 2019-2022 were appreciated by the Board that expressed also gratitude to EUBAM for facilitating its development process. At the same time, the Board urged the Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities to advocate and effectively support the enactment of measures aimed at a more effective fight against cigarettes smuggling in the region.

European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko highlighted the EUBAM’s continued contribution to regional stability and stated that ”EUBAM renewed mandated is a demonstration that the European Union remains fully committed to working with Partner Services in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in the interest of their citizens”.

Stephan Dahlgren, representing Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, encouraged Ukraine and the Republic of  Moldova to complete the border demarcation between the countries. Mr Dahlgren also noted that a draft Road Map for Joint Border Control at Ukrainian-Moldovan border has been presented, and encouraged that a detailed and complete version of this Road Map would be prepared in the nearest months to be approved by all stakeholders.

Ms Tatiana Molcean, State Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova appreciated EUBAM’s contribution in practical terms to the significant progress on the implementation of integrated border management, carrying out joint operations, strengthening institutional capacity and staff training, particularly, of specialists from both banks of the Nistru River working in the Vehicle Registration Offices, established within the mechanism for access of vehicles from transnistrian region to international road traffic. „At the same time, we remain convinced that we should foster cooperation in order to extend the joint border control, especially on the central part of the border with Ukraine, by reason of ensuring stability and security in the region and provide riskless conditions for the business community to develop safe economic activities”, she stated.

Ambassador Viktor Kryzhanovskiy, Special Representative of Ukraine for the Transnistrian Conflict, appreciated EUBAM’s contribution to strengthening the institutional capacities of Customs and Border services of Ukraine, enabling reforms for the implementation of the Association Agreement DCFTA commitments. “Our close cooperation with EUBAM on border and customs management corresponds to the Ukraine-EU key priorities of cooperation for this year. Strong IBM is crucial in in both countries and considered as a string symbol of the EU’s leading role in ensuring peace and security in Europe”, he concluded.

Head of EUBAM Mr Slawomir Pichor noted that: “The end of the first year of EUBAM’s renewed mandate finds us with major developments that make us looking with confidence to the future. The good work between EUBAM and its Partners has brought the implementation of our working program at a good pace, all the foreseen activities being well advanced. Therefore, together, we have experienced tangible progress in all three dimensions: confidence building measures, integrated border management and tackling cross border crime.”

The Advisory Board Meeting will meet again in Odessa in June 2019.

Real-time intelligence exchange leads to seizure of seven million cigarettes at EU external border

Border agencies seized more than seven million cigarettes during a Joint Border Control Operation (JBCO) coordinated by the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) in cooperation with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

The JBCO codenamed “JANUS” ran between May and June 2018 and prompted border agencies from the participating countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine) to instantaneously share intelligence on suspicious consignments mainly transported by road in commercial trucks and trailers.

Goods were either physically checked or examined with the help of x-ray machines. As a result, border agencies discovered several large cargos of cigarettes which had been smuggled from Moldova or Ukraine into the European Union.

OLAF provided participants with access to its Virtual Operation Coordination Unit, a secure communication system facilitating intelligence exchange on shipments in real time.

The timely transfer of information played a major role in this operation, helping partners not only track the suspicious shipments, but also uncover the fraudsters’ modus operandi.

“Cigarette smuggling harms European citizens and funds organised crime,” OLAF Director-General Ville Itälä said. “Only by working together in joint operations such as this one can we stop traffickers and dismantle criminal networks,” he added.

The final results of JBCO “JANUS” were shared during a debriefing meeting held in Odessa, Ukraine, on 17 October 2018, in the framework of Task Force Tobacco, the EUBAM platform aimed at strengthening the fight against cigarettes smuggling.

“EUBAM continues its efforts aimed at preventing and fighting cross border crime in the region. By tackling illicit trade in tobacco products, JBCO “JANUS” proved once again how beneficial the international cooperation is in this field,” said Slawomir Pichor, the Head of EUBAM Mission. “I want to thank OLAF, for being EUBAM’s key partner in coordinating this operation, as well as the five EU Member States and to the Moldovan and Ukrainian border agencies for replying positively to this common attempt to fight cigarettes smuggling in the region,” he added.

Task Force Tobacco intensifies efforts to combat cigarettes smuggling

On 17-18 October the EUBAM‘s Task Force Tobacco meeting took place in Odesa. The event brought together experts from law enforcement agencies in Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and UK, Ukrainian Tobacco Association “Ukrtutun”, as well as major cigarette producers. Representatives from EU agencies Europol, OLAF and SELEC also attended.

The participants exchanged views on trends, modus operandi, risks and countermeasures against tobacco products smuggling and shared their experience and best practices in tacking these issues, all agreeing that the cooperation between border agencies needs continuous development, especially in the area of common risk analysis and intelligence sharing.

A special attention was given to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – Protocol on Eliminating Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products as an international instrument to combat the smuggling of tobacco products. In this context Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities were encouraged to adopt the Protocol, which will ensure effective control over the supply chain and help to reduce the risks of illicit trade in tobacco products.

The effective implementation of National Anti-Tobacco Strategies in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine was also highlighted by the parties as being of high importance and should be accelerated in both countries. In the same time the cigarette producers emphasized their support to these strategies. Therefore, the participants summed up that cooperation between law enforcement agencies and business environment is mutually beneficial for reducing the illicit trade in tobacco products.

EUBAM 30th Advisory Board Meeting held in Odesa, Ukraine

Odesa, 26 June 2018 – Today, the 30th Advisory Board Meeting of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine took place in Odesa in the presence of Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission, Mr Maciej POPOWSKI, European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko, European Union Ambassador to Ukraine, H.E. Hugues Mingarelli, high representatives from Moldovan and Ukrainian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and border agencies, IOM, OSCE and UNDP.

The meeting was hosted by Odesa Regional Council and chaired by European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko.

Recent achievements in the settlement of Transnistria issue, implementing integrated border management and tackling cross-border crime in the region were the main topic on the meeting’s agenda. The Board congratulated the partner services on the enactments of the new Agreement on joint control of persons, vehicles, goods and items at the border crossing points on the Moldova-Ukraine state and encouraged them on taking full advantage of EUBAM support in its implementation.

Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission Maciej POPOWSKI participated at the 30th instalment of the Advisory Board Meeting and said that: “I salute the great work EUBAM has done since its inception in 2005 and its extensive contribution to regional stability and security. Over a span of nearly thirteen years now, it has assisted and helped a generation of Moldovan and Ukrainian officials – both in the fields of border policing and customs – by building capacity and delivering expert advice. Indeed the implementation of the rule of law is central to create a predictable environment. This predictability matters to maintain trust in those who govern, attracting investments and strengthening international cooperation. The EU considers the rule of law as one of its central values and pillars. And translating EU standards into practice has concrete and real benefits as we saw in today’s meeting.”

European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko stated: “Together with all the partner services involved, I am delighted to see that EUBAM is making further progress in all areas of its mandate including on delivering technical support to the Transnistrian settlement process. Its expertise is valuable for instance in implementing a number of the Protocol Decisions that were previously signed. I also want to salute the improvements achieved through EUBAM’s assistance, for instance with regard to the passenger train between Chisinau and Odessa running through Tiraspol. The EU is intent on further supporting private and business travellers to smoothly and safely travel between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine”.

European Union Ambassador to Ukraine, H.E. Hugues Mingarelli urged all parties for soonest implementation of joint border management on the border crossing points at Kuchurhan-Pervomaisk and Giurgiulesti-Reni where the European Union is supporting infrastructure improvement in a project amounting to EUR 5 million.

Head of OSCE and International Security Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, Mr Vasile Mircos, noted that with the launch of EUBAM 12, the Ministry marked a shift to a more results-oriented Mission keeping in mind the needs of the Moldovan and Ukrainian partners. He said: “The primary focus of this meeting is to review the results achieved in the last six months and to assess what remained to be done. EUBAM remains to be an absolutely indispensable tool for border management and risk analysis that perfectly fits the interests of the population of both countries.” He added that the Ministry acknowledges and supports the work of EUBAM focused on technical confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol, combating cross-border crime and full implementation of IBM.

Mr. Serhii Saienko, Acting Director of the European Union and the NATO Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized: “We highly appreciate the EUBAM efforts in supporting authorities of Ukraine and Moldova in effective border management. We welcome the start of the EU funded project on the modernization of infrastructure of Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc and Reni-Giurgiulesti jointly operated border crossing points, establishment of Palanca Contact Point and the Automated Information Exchange between the border agencies of two countries. It is important achievement made by the EUBAM in close cooperation with Ukraine and Moldova.” Mr Saienko also highlighted EUBAM’s assistance in the Ukrainian and Moldavian enforcement efforts, in particular the recent Joint Border Control Operation “JANUS” aimed at counteracting cigarettes smuggling.

Head of EUBAM Mr Slawomir Pichor noted that: “The first six months of the Mission’s new mandate were marked by significant steps forward. The entering into force of the new agreement on joint control was the most important development that will constitute the foundation of our future work on integrated border management. Equally, the infrastructural projects launched in the region together with the initiation of the exchange of information between the border agencies in Ukraine are additionally achievements EUBAM and its partners will continue to build upon. With a particular focus on bringing a qualitative change in border management both for the people and for the trade, we are looking forward to witnessing future developments together with our partners services.”

Chisinau – Odesa: the train connecting people

Odesa, 30 March – European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, Moldovan Railways (CFM), Odesa State Regional Administration and Ukrainian Railways (UZ) have the pleasure to announce you that starting from today, the journey by train from Chisinau to Odesa and back becomes faster and more comfortable.

Following the joint efforts between the parties, a modernized diesel train starts to operate, completing the planned sequence of actions intended to increase the attractiveness of the passenger train connection between Chisinau and Odesa. The replacement of the old-fashioned rolling stock with a modernised train not only brings the quality and comfort of the journey to a new level, but it also reduces its duration. Thus, the connection between Chisinau and Odesa lasts now 3 hours and 50 minutes. This means 120 minutes shorter than it used to be when the Mission initiated this project in 2016. Moreover, the new schedule will allow more time (8 hours) to be spent in Odesa, which is a positive development, especially during summer time when travellers can easily plan a one-day trip to Odesa.

The improved conditions of the journey between Chisinau and Odesa provide an opportunity for a convenient international connection between Moldova and Ukraine, for instance to reach Odesa and Chisinau International Airports. Thus, the touristic potential of the two countries could be more actively exploited since getting to Odesa seashore or multiple wineries in Moldova, popular concerts and other cultural events becomes easier. Moreover, the modernized train that runs via Tiraspol brings closer the two banks of the Nistru River.

Against this background, Ambassador Peter Michalko, Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova stated: “The launch of the Chisinau-Odesa train represents a great opportunity for connecting people. The new train is modern, safe and quick, and the safe movement of persons and goods is a key EU value. This will also bring great benefits, more opportunities and more income for touristic and economic activities. Most importantly, the new train will radically improve the entire travel experience of passengers with its modern facilities and services.”

Attending the launch of the new train, the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, Chiril Gaburici, mentioned: “The modern Chisinau-Odesa train will offer its passengers travelling comfort, safety and reduced travel time. I am confident this change will also have an economic impact.”

The Head of EUBAM, Slawomir Pichor, noted: “For EUBAM the improved travelling conditions will definitely foster people-to-people contacts offering them better opportunity to visit each other and to learn about their cultures. I want to congratulate all people involved in this project for making the running of this modernized train a dream come true.”

The Director General of Moldovan Railways, Iurii Topala, highlighted that “the launching of the modernized train D1M on Chisinau-Odesa route offers the possibility for the passengers to travel safer, faster and more comfortable”.

 

A new impetus for Integrated Border Management – trilateral meeting of Heads of EUBAM, State Fiscal Service of Ukraine and Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova

Odessa, 02 March – European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) held a trilateral meeting of the Heads of EUBAM, State Fiscal Service of Ukraine and Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova. With the full implementation of integrated border management one of the three pillars of the Mission’s current mandate, the main topic of the meeting was reviewing the state of affairs and discussing, from the customs perspective, the future developments regarding the border management at Moldova-Ukraine Border.

Referring to the ongoing joint control at the road Jointly Operated Border Crossing Points, both high-level representatives appreciated EUBAM’s support in advising on the design of border control processes, the blueprints for the daily functioning and layout of border crossing points. The support of the Mission’s field-based staff who has been monitoring them, making sure they maximise the benefits for legitimate cross-border travellers and traders was also positively noticed.

Slawomir Pichor, the Head of EUBAM highlighted the intensive work undertaken by the Mission in the field of IBM, the strategic support offered to the partner services, that culminated with the ratification by the Moldovan and Ukrainian Parliaments of the new agreement on joint control of persons, vehicles, goods and items at joint border crossings points from the Ukrainian-Moldovan state border.

When it came to the border crossing points where the joint control operations are not foreseen, the parties agreed that more coordination of the traffic flow and control procedures is needed. The Head of EUBAM suggested the implementation of certain measures for having smooth traffic flows and preventing queues. The real time information exchange about unusual situations and emergencies related to traffic flow, the cooperation with border agencies, the agreement on establishing the optimal clearance capacity and the flexible management of the traffic lanes were among the debated proposals.  

Concluding the meeting, the Head of EUBAM assured both the Head of State Fiscal Service of Ukraine and the Director General of Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova, that EUBAM will continue to contribute to the further improvement of border and customs cross-border and interagency cooperation between the partners. In the same time the Mission will continue to provide its full support for the implementation of the construction of the new facilities for the joint border crossing points in order to ensure harmonization of Moldova – Ukraine cross border processes in line with the IBM standards and EU best practices.

In his address, the Director General of Moldovan Customs Service Vitalie Vrabie mentioned the effectiveness of the meetings in this format, which allows the parties to agree on the most viable forms of interaction. “Efficient border management, by ensuring simultaneous securitization and more coordination of the traffic flows, is a shared responsibility. That is why it is important that these measures are ensured by all four customs and border authorities of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. And this necessity becomes even more stringent in the context in which we have already ratified the Agreement that allows the establishment of joint control on the entire Moldovan-Ukrainian border segment, “said Vitalie Vrabie.

Miroslav Prodan, Acting Head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine recalled that the last time the Heads of Ukraine and Moldova Customs and EUBAM have met in this format was in 2012. “Such trilateral format allows for discussion and making decisions on wide range of questions.  During the last years we proved that jointly we could reach our goals in provision of economic security of two countries and wider region as well as creation of modern facilities for crossing of Moldova-Ukraine border in line with EU standards. Joint control, cooperation in fight with cross border crime and introduction of video control systems at the road border crossing points are examples of this”, said Mr. Prodan. Implementation of joint control projects in Reni, Kuchurhan and Palanca and improvement of border control procedures will be priorities for the State Fiscal Service in 2018. In addition, among potential direction of cooperation between customs agencies of Moldova and Ukraine and EUBAM, Myroslav Prodan noted the cooperation on counteraction of customs frauds.

EUBAM Advisory Board welcomes the three-year extension of EUBAM’s mandate and appreciates the Mission’s contribution to regional stability and security

Chisinau, 26 January 2018 – EUBAM’s 29th Advisory Board Meeting welcomed the three-year extension of EUBAM’s mandate from 1 December 2017 util 30 November 2020 and the appointment of Slawomir Pichor in his capacity of the new Head of Mission. In doing so, the European Union re-confirms its commitment to assist the authorities in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

Chairman of the Advisory Board, European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko stated: “I am delighted to see EUBAM enter a new phase in its work and congratulate the new Head of Mission, Slawomir Pichor, once again on his appointment. The next few years, EUBAM will focus further on delivering technical support to the Transnistrian settlement process. Furthermore, its focus on combatting cross-border crime will continue under the new mandate as well as its assistance to the competent Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities to fully implement systems related to Integrated Border Management. They will further enable private and business travellers to smoothly travel between both countries.” Stephan Dahlgren, representative from the EU Delegation to Ukraine added that “the European Union supports the improvement works at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border crossing points for a total of EUR 10 million over the next two years. EUBAM’s assistance will help ensure implementing the joint border management of the Kurchuhan, Reni, and Palanca border crossing points.”

The new Head of EUBAM Slawomir Pichor addressed the meeting by expressing his gratitude for being given the opportunity to lead EUBAM in the beginning of the Mission’s new mandate: “I want to pay tribute to my predecessors for the great work they did and on whose achievements I will now build further. My main priorities will be to contribute to a qualitative change in the border management and to provide technical support to Transnistrian settlement process.”

Tatiana Molcean, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, noted: “Among the most important achievements in 2017, we want to highlight the establishment of the joint control points at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border Kuchurgan – Pervomaisc and Palanca – Maiaky – Udobnoe. With a view to the future, we are pleased to see there is ground to improve and extend joint border control mechanisms. We are grateful to EUBAM for the expertise provided during the development of a number of pilot-projects. Its knowledge and its role of binder between Moldova and Ukraine should be maintained.”

Serhii Saienko, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for the European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expressed a wish to see EUBAM coordinate, where relevant, actions on Integrated Border Management (IBM) with EUAM (EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine). Ukraine also welcomes the establishment of the Joint Border Crossing Point Palanca in 2017 and is looking forward to see EUBAM contribute to modernising and technically upgrading the Border Crossing Points in Kuchurgan and Reni.

The Advisory Board Meeting brought together representatives from the Foreign Ministries, border, customs and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the European Union Delegations to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the European Commission, the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and United Nations Development Programme. It will meet again in Odessa in June 2018.

Launching the joint control in Palanca – a qualitative change in border management both for the people and for the trade

On 19 December the joint control in the temporary Jointly Operated Border Crossing Point Palanca was officially launched during a ceremony attended by the management of the Moldovan and Ukrainian border agencies, the Head of EUBAM, the UNDP Project Manager, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Moldova and representatives of the local public authorities.

EUBAM regards the launching of the Joint Control as proof of the good cross-border co-operation between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. In supporting this initiative, the Mission provided assistance in drafting the temporary technological scheme for organizing the joint control.

During the launching ceremony the status of the works construction of the new Jointly Operated Border Crossing Point was also presented. Being an EU funded project, implemented by UNDP, in the framework of the Eastern Partnership IBM flagship initiative, it will significantly simplify the procedure of crossing the border for citizens of Ukraine and Moldova, as they will need to pass the border and customs control only once.

EUBAM supported as well the design of the future Jointly Operated BCP and assisted in drafting the list of its necessary equipment. In the same time, EUBAM experts’ advice regarding the exchange of travelers’ data in real time between UA authorities has been already successfully implemented.

The Head of European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine Slawomir Pichor stated “Today we are making together a qualitative change in border management both for the people and for the trade. Launching this joint control in Palanca is a proof of the increasing cross-border co-operation between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. EUBAM will continue to work with its Moldovan and Ukrainian partners for the modernization of border management between the two countries. I would like to congratulate this new initiative and to assure you of EUBAM’s full support.”

“The capacities and skills that will be developed at the “Palanca” temporary border crossing point will be subsequently applied on a much wider scale to the new crossing point that is being built under the project implemented by UNDP Moldova and will be operational at end of next year”, mentioned the UNDP Project Manager Alla Skvorțova.

“By implementing European best practices in the field of integrated state border management, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are becoming closer to European values and standards.The launching of joint control at the Palanca Temporary Crossing Point represents a significant progress in achieving this goal”, the Director General of Moldovan Customs Service Vitalie Vrabie noted.

Within the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), both Moldova and Ukraine have committed to progress towards efficient and comprehensive border management, including specific customs and border guard issues.

EUBAM will continue to work with its Moldovan and Ukrainian partners for the enhancement of integrated border management between the two countries by encouraging joint border control at border crossing points and information sharing between the agencies.

EUBAM supported the breaking up of an illegal tobacco factory

European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) joined the border and law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, EU member states and Europol in their efforts to stop the operation of an illegal tobacco factory in Spain on 5 December 2017.

18 members of a criminal organization that was manufacturing more than two million cigarettes per day were arrested. They are suspected of illicit tobacco trade, participating in an organized criminal group, money laundering and violating the rights of workers. The organized crime group had invested almost EUR 3 million to start up their illegal tobacco factory in Granada and had even created their own cigarette brand. The workers, mainly from Ukraine and Bulgaria, were living in safe houses and forced to work more than 12 hours each day in a very unhealthy working environment.

European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine has supported the investigation performed by the representatives of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine in close cooperation with the Spanish Guardia Civil.

As a result of the investigation, the factory in Granada has been dismantled and eight searches were carried out in Granada and Malaga. During the searches, 10 tons of tobacco leaves, 4 tons of fine-cut tobacco, 4.5 million cigarettes, machinery, filters, paper and glue, were seized.

The production of fake cigarettes can cost the taxpayer billions of Euros a year in lost duty and taxes, money that could be funding the vital public services. By undermining legitimate retailers and illegal sale of tobacco, the criminals get profit and fund the organized crime. Moreover, fake cigarettes have no quality control in their manufacturing and may contain far higher levels of toxic ingredients which represent a serious health threat for the consumers.

“European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine has made fighting against illicit trade one of its flagship initiatives as it represents a major economic and security challenge for both countries and a serious concern for the European Union and its Member States as well. Working together – at the national, bilateral and international level – is the key to an approach that should prevent and reduce illicit tobacco trade in Moldova, Ukraine and EU Member States.”, noted Slawomir Pichor, Head of EUBAM.

The European Union’s Border Assistance Mission to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine starts a new phase with a new Head of Mission

The European Union Border Assistance Mission to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) today enters a new phase with a new mandate. Under the leadership of a new Head of Mission, Mr. Slawomir Pichor (Poland), EUBAM will further target its efforts to monitor, evaluate and provide advice on border and customs control measures and procedures to the competent authorities in Moldova and Ukraine. At the same time, actively contributing to the settlement of the Transnistrian issue will remain a key component of the Mission.

The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Mr. Peter Michalko, expresses his gratitude to Ambassador Andrew Tesorière, the outgoing Head of Mission whose mandate ended on 30 November. He congratulates Mr. Pichor on his new assignment and wishes him and his team every success. Ambassador Michalko adds that “by starting a new phase, the European Union reconfirms its assistance to citizens’ everyday lives. Travelling from one country to the other – whether it is for business or private reasons – should happen without major obstacles. The fight against traffickers and smugglers is equally important, but should not be to the detriment of the vast majority of people that travel for valid reasons”.

The new Head of European Union Border Assistance Mission, Mr. Slawomir Pichor stated: “I am honored to have been selected for this position. EUBAM has always been close to my heart and I will do my utmost to lead the Mission the best I can. The full approximation to European standards of the border management procedures in the region and further contribution to the Transnistrian settlement process will be my top priorities.”

EUBAM has worked in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine since 2005. While it has its Headquarters in Odessa (Ukraine), an important part of its staff is permanently based in Chisinau, Giurgiulesti and Otaci to work with the Moldovan Customs Services and Border Police. The Mission’s main objective however has remained unchanged throughout all these years, which is improving the service delivery to the citizens of both countries involved (e.g. through shorter waiting periods at border crossings and by strengthening border security) and assisting the authorities in the fight against fraud and smugglers.

Ukraine’s Anti-Illicit Tobacco Strategy presented to International Border Agencies and Tobacco Industry Representatives in Odesa

25 October, Odesa – Representatives of Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies today presented details of the country’s Strategy for Preventing Illicit Tobacco Goods Production and Turnover. Approved on 23 August this year, the Strategy sets out measures to enhance Ukraine’s legislation, operational capacity and infrastructure for law enforcement agencies to effectively detect, investigate, seize and prosecute large-scale tobacco smuggling.

Ukraine’s border, customs and law enforcement agencies developed the Strategy in close cooperation with the tobacco industry and international partners. EUBAM supported its drafting, using the EU’s Strategy on Illicit Tobacco and those of individual EU Member States, as models.

The Strategy was presented during the EUBAM-led Task Force Tobacco meeting, which unites Ukraine and Moldova’s border and customs agencies, the tobacco industry and international law-enforcement bodies on issues related to the illicit trade in cigarettes.

Andrew Tesoriere, Head of EUBAM, underlined that; “Improving co-operation is a critical component for effective counter-measures to tobacco smuggling. The benefit of the Task Force Tobacco forum is that it brings together all stakeholders in one place to foster that collaboration. The need for Ukraine’s anti-illicit tobacco strategy was first identified through the Task Force Tobacco and I am pleased the approved Strategy places an onus on inter-agency and international co-operation. In discussing these issues, EUBAM continues to remain mindful of citizen choice and public safety”.

Colonel Andriy Biloborodchenko, Head of the Press Office of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service’s Southern Regional Directorate also emphasised the importance of inter-agency and international co-operation in countering tobacco smuggling, highlighting that: “Over the last three years, thanks to uniting the efforts of all law enforcement agencies of Ukraine and active co-operation with international partners and law enforcement agencies of neighboring countries we have managed to minimize the routes for the smuggling of tobacco products.”

Former EUBAM vehicles to be used to enhance operational capacities of Moldova’s border agencies

EUBAM today donated six vehicles to Moldova’s General Border Police Inspectorate and Customs Service to enable increased operational mobility and patrolling capabilities. The vehicles, formerly used by EUBAM, are capable of operating in all terrain conditions, thereby improving the capacity of both services to conduct patrols and operations along the whole of its border all year round.

Handing over the vehicles, Ambassador Andrew Tesoriere, Head of EUBAM, welcomed the handover as “a sign of increasing ownership of EUBAM-led initiatives by our Moldovan partners. Both the General Border Police Inspectorate and Customs Service have introduced new, innovative approaches in recent years, including joint mobile patrols, and I am sure these vehicles will enable the expansion of these modern border management practices.”

Receiving the vehicles, Head of Moldova’s General Border Police Inspectorate, Mr. Fredolin Lecari, expressed gratitude to EUBAM for its sustainable support in institutional capacity building initiatives, claiming that any investment in the border security system is justified and needed. “The donation of the three vehicles shall undoubtedly contribute to streamlining our activities in preventing and combating cross-border crime, but also acknowledges the joint efforts towards increasing mobility of the Border Police and delivery of quality, operative services at the border.”

In his acceptance of the vehicles, Head of Moldova’s Customs Service, Mr. Vitalie Vrabie, thanked EUBAM for supporting the efforts of the Customs Service in making their work efficient, expressing confidence that, “This equipment shall contribute significantly to the increase of operational and intervention capacities of the specialised subdivisions of the two authorities during the surveillance and control missions performed.”

Marco Gemmer, Deputy Head of the Operations Section of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, highlighted the fact that “today’s event is a token of the European Union’s continued support to border management and customs services as they deliver crucial support to the citizens on both sides of the border.  These additional vehicles will further improve the quality of the assistance they deliver”.

Antonio Polosa, Chief of the International Organization for Migration’s Mission to the Republic of Moldova, and the implementing partner of EUBAM, welcomed the handover, noting that “the deployment of these vehicles will add valuable capacity to the task of effectively managing Moldova’s borders”.

The handover ceremony was held at the Headquarters of Moldova’s Border Police Department. EUBAM handed over eight vehicles to its Moldovan partners in June 2016 as part of its handover and sustainability strategy. The Mission continues to advise Border Police and Customs Officers at the Moldova-Ukraine border on a daily basis on border controls, customs procedures, risk analysis and measures to combat cross-border crime.

 

EUBAM Statement on joint control at Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc border crossing point

EUBAM regards the introduction of joint operations at the Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc border crossing point, which started on 17 July, as proof of the good cross-border co-operation between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

This jointly operated border crossing point should further regularise and facilitate trade between both countries, to the benefit of all inhabitants of the region, in particular the business community at large, be it in Ukraine or operating on both banks of Nistru river. It should also ease movement of goods in both directions.

Joint operations at Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc border crossing point does not represent a new initiative, but rather progress in fulfilling the inter-state agreement signed between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in March 1997.

EUBAM’s role at the common border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine continues to be – as it has since its creation in 2005 – a technical and advisory role, at the request of the Moldovan and Ukrainian Government. EUBAM under its mandate has no executive or decisional competence.

EUBAM Advisory Board agreed on the extension of the Mission’s mandate

EUBAM’s Advisory Board, meeting in Odesa today, agreed to the establishment of a new EUBAM phase starting from December 2017. The new-look Mission will be streamlined and focus on supporting technical confidence building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol, combatting cross-border crime, and full implementation of Integrated Border Management.

Chairman of the Advisory Board, and Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, Ambassador Pirkka Tapiola, underlined that “EUBAM 12 will be focused on Confidence Building Measures, full implementation of Integrated Border Management, as well as cross-border crime. The new mission, lasting until November 2020, will be downsized, nonetheless it will be more targeted and more results oriented. As partners and friends, we should jointly make all possible efforts to implement the benchmarks we set and to achieve the concrete results which our citizens expect.”

This sentiment was echoed by Deputy Minister of the Republic of Moldova’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Ms. Daniela Morari, who welcomed “the extension of the EUBAM mandate and we express our certainty that the prolonged mandate will build upon the achievements made by Moldova’s border agencies with EUBAM support to date.” She also underlined that the joint border control on the Moldova-Ukraine border remained one of the key priorities for the Republic of Moldova before the end of EUBAM’s current mandate on 30 November 2017.

The Advisory Board also took stock of the challenges and opportunities facing the Mission and its Moldovan and Ukrainian partners before the end of November 2017. Participants in the meeting agreed to intensify efforts on areas including anti-smuggling efforts, improvements in the passenger rail link between Chisinau and Odesa, and the introduction of a system allowing for the automated exchange of traveller data.

Martin Klaucke, the representative of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, underlined the “importance to build on the broad advice and pilot projects provided by EUBAM for the last 12 years, in order to roll out best international practices of Integrated Border Management and Joint Border Management throughout the whole territory of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. He stressed that International technical assistance could facilitate reform processes and transfer of expertise, but it remained important that stakeholders in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine take up the implementation of reforms by themselves. The close cooperation of the two countries with a number of experts from EU Member States provides a good opportunity for peer to peer exchange of experiences.”

Joint control of border crossing points on the common border was a prominent theme of the meeting. Participants agreed to work towards the functional establishment of joint control at sites including Palanca-Maiaky-Udobne, Reni-Giurgiulesti, and Kuchurhan-Pervomaisk, in a citizen and business-friendly manner. Mr. Serhii Saienko, Deputy Director General of the Directorate for the European Union of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasised that, “Ukraine stands for prolongation of the presence of European Union at the State border of Ukraine. We believe that EUBAM should continue monitoring the situation at the Ukraine-Moldova border, providing support in rapid reaction on new challenges in border area and in raising effectiveness of the border and Customs agencies of both countries in line with European standards. Further EUBAM efforts should be concentrated on joint border crossing points.”

The recent decision of visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens to the Schengen Area and EU countries was also singled out for praise. Head of EUBAM, Ambassador Andrew Tesoriere congratulated the Government of Ukraine and assured that “EUBAM will continue to deliver assistance to the State Border Guard Service and State Fiscal Service in the establishment of Integrated Border Management practices that benefit travellers and economic operators crossing the border.”

Representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as border agencies from both countries, the EU Delegations present in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as IOM and the OSCE participated in the meeting. EUBAM’s next Advisory Board Meeting will take place in Chisinau in November.