EUBAM works with Moldova and Ukraine to help them meet the necessary standards of control for visa-free access to the EU. Moldova achieved this in 2014 under the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP). In the two years since it was introduced for Moldovan citizens, visa liberalisation has improved business opportunities, offered wider travel choices and reconnected families. Travellers at Chisinau Airport describe the benefits visa-free travel has had for them.
EUBAM has supported the Moldovan Border Police in preparation for the EU assessment mission on the implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan. Recommendations were also provided to enhance control over migration flows across Transnistria, which was one of the Moldova’s commitments under the VLAP. Acting Head of the Moldovan Border Police, Ianus Erhan, explains the process Moldova had to go through to meet the EU’s visa liberalisation criteria.
Visa liberalisation has had significant benefits for Moldovan citizens. Since visa free travel was introduced, Moldovan citizens have made 4,486,833 journeys to the EU. Between April 2015 – April 2016, travel to the EU increased by 13%. It has opened business opportunities, made family reunions easier, and broadened the perspectives of all Moldovan citizens.
Now that Moldova has its VLAP, EUBAM continues to work with the Moldovan Border Police to help them meet the EU’s standards required for maintaining visa-free travel. This includes control over illegal migration, document security, public order and safety. Ambassador Pirkka Tapiola, Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, explains.
Ukraine continues to work towards its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan. EUBAM contributed to the assessment report which agreed that Ukraine had fulfilled Phase 1 of the action plan (May 2015) on strategy and legislation. EUBAM also contributed to the assessment of Phase 2, which focused on Ukraine’s implementation of Integrated Border Management practices. EUBAM has been working with Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service and other agencies concerned over several years in areas which are essential for completing the visa liberalisation process, such as combatting trafficking in human beings, improving inter-agency co-operation, enhancing risk analysis and strengthening cross-border co-operation.
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.