Chisinau, 21 November 2016 – EUBAM’s 27th Advisory Board Meeting ended on Monday after appraising the strengthened legislative framework aligned to EU standards and cross-border co-operation between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Ongoing confidence building measures related to the Transnistrian settlement process were also assessed. The meeting focused on the reforms still requiring support beyond the end of EUBAM’s current mandate in November 2017.
Chairman of the Advisory Board, EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Pirkka Tapiola said: “Taking into account the mandate of EUBAM is expiring on 30 November 2017, a process of consultations on the future of EUBAM was launched during the last Advisory Board Meeting in Odessa. Given the current geopolitical context, the challenges related to border and customs management, as well as the security situation, a general consensus emerged on the need for the EU to maintain its presence on the borders of this region”.
Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine Thomas Frellesen noted: “Apart from the technical assistance provided through EUBAM, the European Union in Ukraine this year started two Integrated Border Management twinning projects with the State Fiscal Service and the State Border Guard Service. This assistance landscape now allows EUBAM to focus more on its core mandate on Transnistria – a highly unusual border challenge where EUBAM knowledge is unique.”
The Head of EUBAM Ambassador Andrew Tesoriere said: “2016 has witnessed more joint projects being developed between our Moldovan and Ukrainian partners, which will improve the security of the common border and facilitate trade and travel. The Mission’s evaluation of border and customs controls this year has highlighted the achievements of our partners, and helped to clarify the challenges to be addressed. I look forward to EUBAM supporting the ongoing reforms of our Moldovan and Ukrainian partners as the Mission moves into the second year of its current mandate”.
Daniela Morari, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova
noted: “We are at half way of the 11th phase of activity of EUBAM and I am pleased to notice that, up to now, the Mission contributed significantly to strengthening the institutional capacities of customs and border police of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine – capacities that enable reforms and the implementation of commitments taken under the Association Agreements, including the component regarding the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. In this context, I express my satisfaction with the willingness expressed by the European partners to continue to support the activities of EUBAM after November 2017, i.e. after the end of the current mandate of EUBAM. Strengthening regional security through active contribution to the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, efficient organization of integrated management at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border and combating smuggling and cross border crime remain the priority”.
Serhii Saienko, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for the European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine appreciated that the EU presence in the field and on the borders, including the Ukrainian-Moldovan border, should be retained. Through active EU involvement within the framework of the strategic course of Ukraine’s European integration, the border and customs services have been effectively reformed and the capacities of law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies in both Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova have been strengthened, which played a positive role in the region.
Mr Saienko said: “We should benefit from the experience gained and lessons learned by EUBAM, taking into account the current security challenges. Thus, we could consider replicating the existing EUBAM experience in other segments of the Ukrainian state border. If extended, the new EUBAM mandate could be focused mainly on issues related to the Transnistrian segment of the Ukraine-Moldova border and, if necessary, Integrated Border Management in the Republic of Moldova”.
The Board appreciated the joint evaluations on border and customs controls in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine as a valuable indicator of progress made by partner services in the implementation of Integrated Border Management principles and customs commitments stemming from the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas. EUBAM’s continued contribution to enhance co-operation between Chisinau and Tiraspol with technical proposals and confidence building measures was also acknowledged.
Following the Advisory Board, experts from the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine’s border and customs agencies, the European Union Delegations and EUBAM held a technical meeting on the findings of the joint evaluations on border and customs controls in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the establishment of Jointly Operated Border Crossing Points and the progress made by both countries in the area of trade facilitation measures.
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 External Action Service, the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and UNDP. It will meet again in Odessa in May 2017.