My work starts at 8 o’clock every morning. We have a briefing with the Head of the Field Office, and then it’s off to my duty station for the day. Over the course of the week I visit six to seven border crossing points. There are always a lot of tasks waiting for me: measuring crossing times, observing the practices of the Ukrainian Customs Officers, and advising them on the clearance of goods.
The border crossing points covered by EUBAM’s Field Office in Podilsk are a little bit complicated, especially from the Customs side. Since 2015, excisable goods have not been allowed through this border segment, so it’s important Customs Officers identify commercial and non-commercial goods accurately.
Building a good working relationship with the Ukrainian Customs Officers is essential. I’ve worked as Head of a Mobile Unit and Deputy Head of a border crossing point, so on one level I can understand the everyday challenges they face.
But I don’t just rely on my 23 years as a Customs Officer in Slovakia. I’ve been on TAIEX missions and working visits to Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Malta. You get to understand that even though all EU Member States apply the same Customs Code, there are still differences in processes. That experience has really helped me in identifying solutions here in Ukraine.
I’ve given over 80 on-the-job pieces of advice to Customs Officers in the eight months I have been here, as well as presenting on the identification of counterfeit goods. It’s that knowledge sharing and problem solving that our partners appreciate from the Mission.