EUBAM contributes towards the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict through the official international negotiation mechanism (the “5+2” process) and its related expert working groups.
EUBAM develops and advocates for technical confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol on transport, customs, veterinary and phytosanitary, and law enforcement issues. The Mission has been a consistent advocate for the re-opening of the international transport corridors that cross Transnistria. Indeed, in 2012, EUBAM’s proposals helped to re-open rail freight through Transnistria that had been suspended for six years. Agnieszka Wawrzyk, Team Leader of EUBAM’s Transnistrian Settlement Office, explains how the Mission attempts to build co-operation between Chisinau and Tiraspol.
EUBAM’s role is not just to ensure that confidence building measures start, but also to make sure they are sustained. In 2010 the passenger rail link between Chisinau and Odesa through Transnistria was reactivated after a four year hiatus. The resumed link has been seen as a positive step in people-to-people contacts and practical co-operation between the two banks of the Dniester River. Five years later, low passenger numbers jeopardised its viability, reducing the service’s frequency to only twice a week. Following an EUBAM-led assessment in June 2016, enhancements to the service were agreed to reduce journey times and make the train more attractive for cross border travellers. Six under-used stops were cancelled and in December 2016 Moldova’s Customs Service introduced Customs control at Chisinau railway station. Tiraspol also shortened the stop at Bender station significantly from 25 minutes to 3. These changes have revitalised the service, with 45 minutes reduced off the journey time and train ridership increased to 90% of capacity. Moldovan Customs revenues have also improved.
The Mission is also active in monitoring the 453km-long Transnistrian segment of the Moldova-Ukraine border, as well as the 411km-long administrative boundary line within the Republic of Moldova. EUBAM’s Field Offices in Chisinau, Kuchurhan and Podilsk ensure a daily presence at the border and administrative boundary line, and help to ensure:
- Human rights of travellers crossing at the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border are respected.
- Free movement of people and goods across the administrative boundary line and the Transnistrian segment of the border with Ukraine are maintained.
- Cross border and trans-boundary problems are resolved as they arise.
Who we are?
The European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) was launched in 2005. It promotes border control and customs norms and practices that meet EU standards and serve the needs of its two partner countries. It is an advisory, technical body with the Headhunters in Odesa (Ukraine). A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the European Commission and the Governments of Moldova and Ukraine in late 2005 is the legal basis for EUBAM, while an Advisory Board acts as the Mission’s governing body. The mandate of the Mission has already been extended five times (in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017), with the current mandate expiring on 30 November 2020.
What we do?
The Mission works with Moldova and Ukraine to harmonise border control, and customs and trade standards and procedures with those in EU Member States. It helps to improve cross-border cooperation between the border guard and customs agencies and other law enforcement bodies and to facilitate international coordinated cooperation. EUBAM assists Moldova and Ukraine to fulfil the obligations of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which both countries signed as part of their Association Agreements with the EU. It also contributes to the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict through confidence building measures and as a monitoring presence at the Transnistrian segment of the Moldova-Ukraine border.
Where we work?
The Moldova-Ukraine state border is 1,222 km long, consisting of 955 km of “green” (land) border and 267 km of “blue” (river) border.
The Mission is headquartered in Odesa (Ukraine). It has an EUBAM Office in Moldova and six field offices – three on the Moldovan side of the joint border and three on the Ukrainian side.
EUBAM Office in Moldova has a liaison function which is focused on projecting and representing the activities of EUBAM amongst other donors and beneficiaries to ensure better coordination and an improved consultative process. It enables the identification of strategic partner needs that are relevant to current and future planning, and have provides EUBAM with an understanding of the broader issues and obstacles that may affect the achievement of objectives.
There are 67 permanent official border crossing points along the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, including international, inter-state and local ones. The central segment of this border length 453 km is under Tiraspol control, including 25 official crossing points to Ukraine.
The “internal boundary” between the two banks of the Dniester river is not monitored by Moldovan border guards, but there are some customs check-points.