On 28 April a conference of the Black and Baltic Sea countries’ border agencies took place in Odesa. Border officials from Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Moldova, Poland and Latvia as well as EUBAM, FRONTEX, EUAM and IOM coordinated their approaches to counteracting illegal migration, smuggling and drug trafficking.
Head of EUBAM, Andrew Tesoriere, said: “Improving regional border management and customs cooperation increases security and helps to fight organised cross-border crime such as trafficking in human beings, arms and drugs and contributes to preventing and managing irregular migration. Events like this allow the Black and Baltic Sea border agencies to share best practices and jointly strategies in order to better meet future needs and scenarios”
Conference participants endorsed a communique highlighting the importance of introducing the key principles of Integrated Border Management, strengthening information exchange and operational coordination and stressed the need to create a joint risk analysis mechanism in the Black and Baltic Seas format to effectively counteract traditional and emerging illegal activities.
Over the last ten years, EUBAM has worked with Ukrainian and Moldovan border agencies and other national and international partners to strengthen Black Sea maritime border security and facilitate trade.
The Mission maintains a field presence at the Odesa and Chornomorsk Sea Ports in Ukraine and Giurgiulesti Port in Moldova, assisting partners in risk analysis and counteracting smuggling as well as advising on improving customs procedures. Recommendations identified in Port Studies conducted by EUBAM over the last two years are helping to streamline ports’ customs clearance and facilitate legitimate trade.
Enhancing cross border and international cooperation to prevent illegal migration and the smuggling of drugs, arms, tobacco and vehicles remains one of the aims of EUBAM-led Working Groups and Tasks Forces. These forums have led to improved co-operation not only with EU member states, but with the wider Black Sea region.