On 30 November 2021, the 37th Advisory Board Meeting of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine took place in an online format. The event brought together representatives from 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.
The Advisory Board warmly welcomed its new chairman, His Excellency, Ambassador Jānis Mažeiks and got acquainted with an overview of activities performed by the Mission for the period of June – October 2021. The participants acknowledged the progress in the implementation of EUBAM 12 Action Plan, expressing their satisfaction with the continuous and active cooperation among the Mission and its Partner Services.
EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks reiterated EU‘s commitment to build strong relations with its closest neighbours, based on genuine partnership. EUBAM is, in that respect, an illustration on how the EU continuously supports this objective, for the benefit of Moldovan and Ukrainian citizens: “I would like to congratulate all partners on the successful implementation of EUBAM 12 phase and to express our gratitude for their efforts, despite the challenges faced during this period of implementation. EUBAM continues to play a key role in promoting integrated border management and in fighting organized crime, and we would like to encourage all parties to continue their efforts for tangible results to be achieved in the coming months”.
The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, Matti Maasikas, said: “Recent crises have made the importance of a rapid and efficient coordination among cross-border agencies even clearer. The EU welcomes Ukraine’s readiness to re-criminalise smuggling to avoid losses to the state budget, to stop distorting competition among businesses and to ensure public health and safety. We are looking forward to having established legal and regulatory framework for criminalisation of large-scale smuggling including on jurisdiction for investigative mandate. We stand ready to support the agency mandated with investigative powers to develop the needed technical capacities. We also encourage Ukraine and Moldova to proceed carrying out joint border operations at the agreed border crossing points between the two countries and to expand joint control to other border crossing points along the common border, in accordance with the 2017 Agreement on Joint control, national IBM strategies and shared priorities. This is the best way to ensure people-to-people contacts, increase security and prevent cross border crime.”
Andrei Popov, the Head of Multilateral Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova noted: “We would like to highlight the valuable contribution that the EUBAM has brought during these years to the implementation of the integrated border management, strengthening of the institutional capacity, staff training and combating cross border crime. The EUBAM advisory board meetings remain an efficient platform where we can assess the results of our common efforts, discuss in a sincere and pragmatic way the aspects that should be improved, thus giving new impetus to our further fruitful cooperation. In this context, we would like to express our gratitude to the Mission for the activity carried out in the last five months taking also into consideration the challenging times we are facing. We are convinced that we should continuously work together in order to achieve tangible results, in particular on the full implementation of the integrated border management concept. In this context, we would like to reiterate our willingness to continue our enhanced cooperation and encourage EUBAM to keep the same proactive approach in order to achieve our common goals.”
Mr. Serhii Saienko, Deputy Director General of the Directorate for the European Union and the NATO of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated: “Combating cross-border crime, including drug and illicit firearms trafficking, as in any other country, requires the consolidated efforts of law enforcement agencies. The EUBAM assisted Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova in developing a government-led approach with a strategic vision to address and prevent both, which became potential threat and challenge nowadays. I would like to re-iterate the commitment of Ukraine to continue diligently implementing in full the integrated border management concept under the specific objective 2 in partnership with EUBAM and our partners from the Republic of Moldova”.
Head of EUBAM, General Slawomir Pichor thanked all the participants for their valuable contributions and said: “The developments during the reporting period have proven that, despite challenging times, it was still possible for EUBAM and its partner services to adapt to the new circumstances and move forward with the implementation of the Action Plan. With that being said, I would like to restate my appreciation to all our Moldovan and Ukrainian Partners for their cooperation and support and assure that EUBAM will continue to stay the same committed partner for contributing to a qualitative change in border management.”
The Advisory Board Meeting will meet again in June 2022.