On 23-25 May 2023, the Director for Migration Dialogues and Cooperation of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) Martijn Pluim, and the Head of Region Eastern Europe and Central Asia Radim Žák, joined the EU Support in Strengthening Integrated Border Management in Ukraine – Resilience (EU4IBM-Resilience) project team in Kyiv to attend the 2nd Project Steering Group meeting. In the course of the visit, they also held bilateral talks with the leadership of the State Border Guard Service (SBGS), the State Customs Service (SCS), the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada, the State Migration Service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, as well as the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
The overall aim of the EU4IBM-Resilience project is to contribute to the resilience and reinforcement of the border management in Ukraine by strengthening the capacities of Ukrainian Integrated Border Management (IBM) agencies to ensure business continuity during the war. The Steering Group thus reviewed the project’s progress in the first six months of implementation, took note of the feedback by the beneficiaries, and established objectives for future cooperation.
“By addressing equipment deficiencies, providing trade facilitation solutions, harmonizing legislation, and supporting the parliamentary functions, we are jointly working towards a more resilient and secure border management system in Ukraine,” highlighted Martijn Pluim.
Over the last half-a-year, the project delivered 32 mobile mini-scanners for the inspection of vehicles to the SBGS and provided respective trainings on the use of the equipment. 500 mobile radio stations were procured and are expected to be delivered soon as well. Technical specifications were developed for a range of other equipment, including border security and surveillance, rehabilitation of personnel, etc.
As part of the skills building efforts, EU4IBM-Resilience is supporting the training of SCS canine teams, 112 in total over the year, in line with recommendations on improvement of control procedures at the border. An in-depth vehicle inspection training was also organized for SBGS and SCS jointly with the Finnish Customs.
Additionally, EU4IBM-Resilience contributes to the improvement of the SBGS anti-corruption work by providing international experience in prevention and awareness-raising. The project also supported SCS by ensuring full-time access to the legal and analytical databases “YouControl” and “ZakonOnline” which allow to prevent and counter corruption offenses.
Furthermore, the project team has launched their support to preliminary review of Ukrainian legislation to establish a basis for legal harmonization with the EU Acquis. The project team is prepared to resume their assistance to monitoring and evaluation of the Ukrainian IBM Strategy and its Action Plan, which was disrupted by war.
During the meetings with the leadership of Ukrainian government bodies, the ICMPD delegation reiterated its commitment to further explore ways to expand support to Ukraine and discussed some specific promising ideas and areas for beneficial cooperation in the near future.