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* On January 25, 2011, the Head of the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), Mr Udo Burkholder, and the rector of the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (AESM), Grigore Belostecinic, signed a joint statement on cooperation. The agreement aims to improve the knowledge of students and Academy staff on border management and customs issues. Under the terms of the agreement EUBAM experts will provide lectures to students, host open days at EUBAM Mission headquarters in Odessa and organise visits to EUBAM field offices along the Moldova-Ukraine border.

EUBAM was launched on 30 November 2005 following a request made jointly to the European Commission by the presidents of the Republic Moldova and Ukraine. A range of illicit cross-border activity, including trafficking of human beings, smuggling and other illegal trade, was occurring along the 1,222km-long MD/UA border, a vulnerability not helped by the secessionist region of Transnistria in Moldova (which lies adjacent to 472km of the same border), over which the government of Moldova has no control. As a result both governments were losing substantial amounts in revenue to organised crime. 

Fully funded by the European Union within the context of the EU Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument, and with the UNDP acting as implementing partner, EUBAM is an advisory, technical body mandated to enhance the capacities of our partners – the border guard and customs authorities and other law enforcement and State agencies of Moldova and Ukraine. By offering comprehensive support to our partners on EU best practice from its headquarters in Odessa and six field offices on either side of the Moldova/Ukraine common border, EUBAM envisages that border and customs procedures and standards in MD/UA will ultimately mirror those prevalent in the European Union. Although EUBAM’s support/advisory role confers on it certain privileges – such as the right to observe customs clearances and border checks, to make unannounced spot checks to any border crossing point or customs post along the common MD/UA border, and to examine border control documentation – it does not have executive powers.

Among other functions, EUBAM provides on-the-job training, technical assistance and advice to the Moldovan and Ukrainian border guard and customs services, reinforcing their capacity to tackle customs fraud, detect cases of smuggling and THB (trafficking in human beings), and carry out effective border and customs controls and border surveillance. The Mission provides dedicated training courses on key customs and border-control issues such as risk analysis and anti-smuggling techniques, organises study visits to EU member States in order to observe EU best practice and engage in information exchange, and at all stages tries to foster improved coordination and encourage harmonization of procedures among the State agencies of each country and between the relevant agencies of Moldova and Ukraine. 

EUBAM conducts regular joint border patrols with its partners, as well as special joint border-control operations, the most recent of which – Tyra 2010 – resulted in a series of arrests, detections of fraud and smuggling, and investigations. EUBAM support was critical in the creation of the PAIES, the Pre-Arrival Information Exchange System, which since April 2008 has given the customs services of Moldova and Ukraine a way by which they can share, quickly access, and coordinate information on imports and exports, thereby helping to improve monitoring of illicit activities.

EUBAM participates in two standing working groups with the host countries’ border services: one focuses on illegal migration and THB, and the other on weapons smuggling, contraband and customs fraud. It also provides neutral, technical advice on implementation of the Joint Declaration (signed by the presidents of MD and UA in Dec 2005), which introduced a new customs regime whereby companies based in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova can gain access to EU trade preferences for their exports provided they register with the customs authorities in Moldova.

One of the Mission’s top priorities is to encourage transparency and combat corruption. To this extent EUBAM is involved in a wide range of outreach activities, in particular engaging civil society and the youth of Moldova and Ukraine. On a regular basis the Mission communicates with border communities through road shows and school presentations, and by disseminating public information material on border-control issues and customs procedures. The Mission also hosts anti-corruption and summer schools for university students, and has to date signed partnership agreements with six universities in Odessa and Chisinau, capital of Moldova.

Another key aspect to EUBAM’s work is cooperation with our European partners: the EU delegations in Kiev and Chisinau, and organisations such as Frontex (the EU border security agency), OLAF (EU anti-fraud agency), and Europol. On a broader context and within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy, EUBAM is a unique instrument by which the EU strives on the one hand to encourage the movement of legitimate trade and travel, and on the other hand to guarantee security and tackle criminality. The pan-European Integrated Border Management strategy is central to this vision, and in Moldova and Ukraine EUBAM is supporting its partners in the development of a viable IBM process. At the end of 2010 this support culminated in the approval of an IBM strategy in Moldova, and an IBM concept in Ukraine.

Finally, and despite political stability in the Transnistrian part of Moldovan having played a central role in the Mission’s creation, the Mission does not intervene on a political level and does not engage with the so-called Transnistrian authorities. Nevertheless, EUBAM hopes that support given to both governments on a technical/advisory level, and in support of confidence-building measures, will contribute meaningfully to an eventual settlement of the conflict. Overseeing the implementation of the Joint Declaration, for instance, has served to encourage the flow of legitimate cross-border trade, while EUBAM support was also a key component in the re-opening of the Chisinau-Odessa passenger railway route (which traverses the Transnistrian region).

  • EUBAM has an annual budget of €12 million and a staff of over 200, approximately 100 seconded and contracted staff from EU member States, and 126 national staff of Moldova and Ukraine. A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the European Commission, the government of Moldova, and the government of Ukraine in late 2005 is the legal basis for EUBAM, while an advisory board – which meets twice a year – acts as the Mission’s ‘governing body’. Its six cherished core values are neutrality, partnership, reliability, results, service and transparency. The mandate of the Mission has already been extended twice (once in 2007, again in 2009).
EUBAM is an EU Mission fully funded by the European Union The United Nations Development Programme is the implementing partner 13, Uyutna str.,
Odesa, 65012, Ukraine
Tel/Fax: +380 482 36 52 74
E-mail: press@eubam.org

Партнёры - Представители

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Разработка Victor Axente
Концепция корпоративного стиля для департаментов A.S.E.M.
Запуск электронной версии - апрель 2010.