The reporting year was fraught with uncertainties and difficulties both in the Republic of Moldova and in Ukraine. 2014 was also marked by a development of fundamental importance in the European agenda of EUBAM’s partner countries: the signing by Chisinau and Kyiv of Association Agreements with the European Union.
In a fast evolving environment, EUBAM had to question itself and adjust priorities and programmes. As we did so, we relied on two assets: a well-established cooperation with border control, customs and other national services and our unique on-the-ground presence and expertise.
The diverse requirements of the Association Agendas and DCFTA led to a greater engagement in normative and operational areas of trade, border control and customs work. We also launched dedicated efforts, such as the Odessa port study, intended to act as catalysts for the overall strengthening of partner services. In response to new security concerns at the Transnistria segment of the border, the Mission increased its monitoring presence and reporting capability.
In its ninth year of operations, EUBAM moved determinedly towards the empowerment of partner services and sustainability. Partners took the lead on several activities [that had reached maturity as the Mission limited itself to a supporting and advisory role. This freed time and resources for us to turn our attention towards new priorities. The growing number of initiatives by the European Union and other regional and international partners made it also imperative to strengthen inter-agency coordination. This promoted synergies and the optimal utilization of resources in the best interest of partner countries. The Mission intends to continue down this path.
As reflected in the report, 2014 saw most encouraging progress in cross-border cooperation. The concern over security shared by both countries reinforced their mutual commitment both institutionally and on the ground. EUBAM was a close partner in joint operations and in facilitating new agreements within the framework of the standards and obligations of the association process.
The political impasse over Transnistria affected EUBAM’s capacity to make full use of its know-how through the confidence-building process. Some glimmer of hope transpired towards the end of the reporting year. At the same time, the Mission presence at the Transnistrian segment of the border was an effective tool to ensure that heightened security measures complied with EU standards. It also provided much needed information on developments to partner countries and the international community.
This report is meant most of all to inform about the activities of EUBAM and its partners during the past year. It should also contribute to the collective effort to define a common agenda for the future. More needs to be done in the fight against corruption and cross-border crime; good intentions must increasingly be reflected in specific deeds and verifiable results. Rules and procedures should be further developed, particularly in the area of human resources management, and aligned with European standards. Equally important is their universal and consistent application. Greater stability of structures and personnel in the partner services would also facilitate continuity and readiness to commit. On Transnistria, the Mission will redouble its efforts to promote practical answers to problems shared by the parties without prejudice to the unresolved political agenda. Open minds and a spirit of compromise on the part of all concerned would be of great assistance in this respect.
While considering what remains to be done, this is also an occasion to acknowledge the important progress that we have made together. The report bears witness to this progress.
Whatever achievement EUBAM managed over the past year would not have been possible without the hard work of our Moldovan and Ukrainian colleagues in circumstances that often were far from easy. As we renew our wholehearted commitment to the common agenda, I wish to express EUBAM’s deep appreciation for their trust and dedication.
Odessa January 2015