Two new cross border cooperation agreements were signed today between Moldova and Ukraine that will make it faster and easier to move across their joint border. The first, establishing joint control at the Pervomaisc-Kuchurhan Border Crossing Point (BCP) would allow both excisable and non-excisable goods for import, export and transit through Transnistria to move through this BCP. This will save businesses both time and money, eliminating the need for re-routing any goods, including alcohol and tobacco, around this part of the border and also avoiding double customs clearance in both Chisinau and Tiraspol. In the longer term, the agreement should also help re-open international transport corridors across Transnistria.
The second agreement, on the automated exchange of border crossing data across the Moldova-Ukraine border, will enhance security through increasing transparency about the movement of vehicles and goods over the border. It could also remove the obligation for foreign citizens entering Transnistria to register their stay with the Moldovan migration authorities, avoiding the need to travel over to the administrative boundary line on the west side of Transnistria.
The signature of the agreements was witnessed by the Advisory Board of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM). EUBAM, which has been working with Moldova and Ukraine to help align them with EU standards of border management, has long advocated these agreements as a way to facilitate border crossing and boost regional development and trade. EUBAM and other EU bodies assisted border professionals in Moldova and Ukraine with its own best practice experience in the area of establishing joint border control.
The Advisory Board convened in Chisinau to agree the Mission’s future work plan with representatives from the foreign ministries, the border and law enforcement agencies of Moldova and Ukraine, the EU Delegations to Moldova and Ukraine, as well as the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine, the IOM, the OSCE and UNDP.
Jan Tombinski, EU Ambassador to Ukraine said “EUBAM is an important part of the EU’s efforts to help both countries to implement their Association Agreements with the EU and the related Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas. We praised what the partner services had achieved so far on this agenda, but noted that there remains a great deal of work ahead of us. Working together, I am confident this can be accomplished.”
EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Pirkka Tapiola, said: “EUBAM’s contribution to the settlement of the Transnistrian issue strengthens cooperation between Chisinau and Tiraspol on a range of practical matters such as customs, trade, transport and law enforcement cooperation, which are central to supporting regional development and security.”
Welcoming the extension of EUBAM’s mandate until November 2017, Daniela Cujba, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova said: “In the ten years since EUBAM’s launch, it has contributed to the implementation of integrated border management at the Moldova-Ukraine border, institutional capacity-building and other important areas. We will support EUBAM’s further practical initiatives, which bring concrete benefits for both countries on their path to European integration.”
Volodymyr Bachynsky, Deputy Head of the EU Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said: “Ukraine is seeking deeper cooperation with EUBAM in accordance with new challenges and priorities such as the DCFTA which comes into force on 1 January. We also want EUBAM to provide assistance with combating smuggling and improving enforcement measures.”
Among the benefits of establishing a jointly controlled border crossing point at Pervomaisc-Kuchurhan Border Crossing Point is to promote and encourage the re-establishment of international transport corridors across Transnistria and along the M14 which is a European corridor and pave the way for reopening the Gura Bicului – Bicioc Bridge along the motorway M14. This route is intended to form part of the TRACECA network. The Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia network is an international transport programme involving the EU and 14 countries of the Eastern European, Caucasian and Central Asian regions.