EUBAM’s Advisory Board, meeting in Odesa today, agreed to the establishment of a new EUBAM phase starting from December 2017. The new-look Mission will be streamlined and focus on supporting technical confidence building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol, combatting cross-border crime, and full implementation of Integrated Border Management.
Chairman of the Advisory Board, and Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, Ambassador Pirkka Tapiola, underlined that “EUBAM 12 will be focused on Confidence Building Measures, full implementation of Integrated Border Management, as well as cross-border crime. The new mission, lasting until November 2020, will be downsized, nonetheless it will be more targeted and more results oriented. As partners and friends, we should jointly make all possible efforts to implement the benchmarks we set and to achieve the concrete results which our citizens expect.”
This sentiment was echoed by Deputy Minister of the Republic of Moldova’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Ms. Daniela Morari, who welcomed “the extension of the EUBAM mandate and we express our certainty that the prolonged mandate will build upon the achievements made by Moldova’s border agencies with EUBAM support to date.” She also underlined that the joint border control on the Moldova-Ukraine border remained one of the key priorities for the Republic of Moldova before the end of EUBAM’s current mandate on 30 November 2017.
The Advisory Board also took stock of the challenges and opportunities facing the Mission and its Moldovan and Ukrainian partners before the end of November 2017. Participants in the meeting agreed to intensify efforts on areas including anti-smuggling efforts, improvements in the passenger rail link between Chisinau and Odesa, and the introduction of a system allowing for the automated exchange of traveller data.
Martin Klaucke, the representative of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, underlined the “importance to build on the broad advice and pilot projects provided by EUBAM for the last 12 years, in order to roll out best international practices of Integrated Border Management and Joint Border Management throughout the whole territory of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. He stressed that International technical assistance could facilitate reform processes and transfer of expertise, but it remained important that stakeholders in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine take up the implementation of reforms by themselves. The close cooperation of the two countries with a number of experts from EU Member States provides a good opportunity for peer to peer exchange of experiences.”
Joint control of border crossing points on the common border was a prominent theme of the meeting. Participants agreed to work towards the functional establishment of joint control at sites including Palanca-Maiaky-Udobne, Reni-Giurgiulesti, and Kuchurhan-Pervomaisk, in a citizen and business-friendly manner. Mr. Serhii Saienko, Deputy Director General of the Directorate for the European Union of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasised that, “Ukraine stands for prolongation of the presence of European Union at the State border of Ukraine. We believe that EUBAM should continue monitoring the situation at the Ukraine-Moldova border, providing support in rapid reaction on new challenges in border area and in raising effectiveness of the border and Customs agencies of both countries in line with European standards. Further EUBAM efforts should be concentrated on joint border crossing points.”
The recent decision of visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens to the Schengen Area and EU countries was also singled out for praise. Head of EUBAM, Ambassador Andrew Tesoriere congratulated the Government of Ukraine and assured that “EUBAM will continue to deliver assistance to the State Border Guard Service and State Fiscal Service in the establishment of Integrated Border Management practices that benefit travellers and economic operators crossing the border.”
Representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as border agencies from both countries, the EU Delegations present in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as IOM and the OSCE participated in the meeting. EUBAM’s next Advisory Board Meeting will take place in Chisinau in November.