On 28 January 2021, the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine held its 35th Advisory Board Meeting. 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 joined the meeting virtually.
Head of EUBAM, Mr Slawomir Pichor, briefed the participants on the activities accomplished by the Mission together with its Partner Services under the influence of the evolving coronavirus pandemic, since September 2020 when the Board previously met, as well as on the activities planned till 30 November 2021.
The European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Peter Michalko, chaired the meeting where the participants gave valuable insights on how the Mission could further contribute to an inclusive dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol, supporting the expansion of joint control along Moldova-Ukraine state border, and preventing, detecting and investigating cross-border crimes.
Within that context, the EU Ambassador Peter Michalko mentioned: “The EU Border Assistance Mission continues to be a key player in bringing closer together the Moldovan and Ukrainian border management authorities. This is done with joint efforts in the fight against cigarettes smuggling or in rolling out the joint border control concept along the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, so that citizens on both sides can travel more easily from one side to the other. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put at risk people’s health and safety, and EUBAM stands firm with the border police and customs services in their mission to ensure a better service delivery to citizens. Related to further implementation of joint control, I would like to reiterate that we are looking forward to further progress in the next few weeks and months at border crossing points such as Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc”.
The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, Ambassador Matti Maasikas, encouraged close cross border cooperation for smooth and transparent border management in the current challenging times and acknowledged the importance of EUBAM in this respect. “The EU has finalised the reconstruction of two border crossing points between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and provided substantial investment. I encourage the Ukrainian side to implement the 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 welcomed the results of the EUBAM’s activities attained over the last 15 years. “We are pleased to note that both the Moldovan Government and the Ukrainian Government have adopted the decision to extend EUBAM’s mandate, acknowledging the added value delivered by the Mission by promoting and strengthening the regional cooperation in the field of border security and management. We are grateful for the substantial, and technical-financial assistance offered by the Mission and reiterate our willingness to continue our fruitful cooperation with EUBAM in the context of effective implementation of the integrated border management, joint operations, strengthening institutional capacity and staff training, and other established objectives.”
Mr. Serhii Saienko, Deputy Director General of the Directorate for the European Union and the NATO of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated: “Ukraine and Moldova have an opportunity to enter new stage in multifaceted relations and in their integration movement to the EU. As Ukraine and Moldova leaders reiterated during their meeting in Kyiv on January 12, both countries will contribute into regional security by enhancing cooperation on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. Fight against smuggling and trafficking of tobacco, drugs and arms, corruption prevention and countering illegal migration remain key priorities with EUBAM assistance.”
Head of EUBAM, Mr Slawomir Pichor, said: “Over the past 15 years EUBAM have been supporting Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities in the continuous process of ensuring modern and effective border management, in particular at the Transnistrian segment of their common state border. In this connection, I should also like to express my appreciation to our Moldovan and Ukrainian partners for their constant efforts and commitment since the Mission’s very inception. Similarly, in the light of the latest extension of the EUBAM’s mandate, I would like to thank them for the trust granted to EUBAM and for making this EU border assistance mission a reliable partner in the region.”
The next meeting of the Advisory Board will be held in June 2021.