On 17 May 2021, the EU-funded project “EU Support to Strengthening Integrated Border Management in Ukraine (EU4IBM)” launched the pilot initiative on prevention of cross-border crime at the green border between Ukraine and Romania. The pilot includes elements of technical re-equipment as well as joint capacity building and anti-corruption trainings implemented on the basis of the new infrastructure.
“We welcome the efforts of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine aimed at enhancing the management of the state borders and fighting cross-border crimes and smuggling. Integrated border management is indeed key to strengthen security and facilitate trade exchanges between Ukraine and the EU. The EU stands ready to support Ukraine in responding to related challenges at the most vulnerable segments of the border”, said Xavier Camus, Head of the Good Governance and Democratisation Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine.
As the start of the pilot, over 17-18 May, an expert group carried out a field assessment of the selected segment of the Ukraine-EU land border in order to diagnose the existing border protection infrastructure and its vulnerabilities to smuggling and to other cross-border crime, as well as to formulate the turnkey solution to be implemented. As a next step, the group will prepare technical specifications for the border protection equipment and a roadmap for its deployment, complemented with manpower capacity development exercises.
“The segment we work at is among the most vulnerable at Ukraine’s western border. Just at the time of the expert visit, the night border guard patrol intercepted the smuggling of 27 boxes (13,790 packs) of cigarettes. Both Ukraine and the EU suffer from cross-border crime, and need to jointly apply a comprehensive approach combining technical and soft activities as demonstrated by our project”, commented Arunas Adomenas, EU4IBM Team Leader.
The support launched upon SBGS’ request is based on a thorough analysis of the counter cross-border crime measures and practices in place at Ukraine’s green borders, as well as the bottlenecks and topographical peculiarities identified at the pilot segment. The findings included a wide range of recommendations ranging from business process optimization to using modern technical border protection solutions as well as anti-corruption and motivation elements. In the following months, SBGS and the EU4IBM project will be jointly implementing the recommendations to pilot the proposed border protection solution.