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EUBAM Advisory Borad holds its 16th meeting in Odesa
Apr 16 2011, 11:49
The EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine Advisory Council has held its 16th meeting in Odesa.
The participants of the meeting were representatives of Ukrainian and Moldovan customs and border services, state officials, representatives of the European Commission, UNDP and OSCE. The participants analyzed the mission’s activities in 2010 and progress.
In particular, the Board noted vital activities EUBAM is engaged with together with its partners, such as capacity building and training initiatives, support to the integrated border management process, customs controls and transparency, demarcation of the common Moldova-Ukraine border, as well as efforts at combating cross-border crime and corruption.
The Board acknowledged significant advancements having been made in joint analysis of risks and threats to the common border, praised its public outreach and communication activities, and recognised the Mission’s contribution, through confidence-building measures, to the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, for which all parties expressed their gratitude.
The Head of EUBAM, Mr Udo Burkholder, remarked on the deepening cooperation between the Mission and its partners in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
“Over five years ago we began operations here, and we wanted our relationship to be built on trust and understanding,” said Mr Burkholder. “I am happy to report that although many challenges remain, by continuing our fruitful partnership in the same spirit of trust we can take on these challenges together, and in confidence.”
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Molodva has informed there Ukraine and Moldova have come to an agreement on the documents transferring part of the road near Palanca.
According to Mr Pyrozhkov, on April 7, 2011 in Kyiv, Foreign Ministers of both countries discussed the transfer of Ukrainian part of the road Odesa—Reni near Palanca.
“The Moldovan party confirmed their interest in resolving this issue. Fundamental progress in the fact that the Ukrainian and Moldovan sides agreed on the contents of key documents, including the ownership of this road section. For a long time could not agree on a geometric plan. Now it is almost agreed. So, I think the issue will be solved soon” said the envoy.
Another result was that EUBAM’s mission had been unanimously prolonged for another 24 months by the Advisory Council.
“We give positive evaluation to the Mission’s operation and we are ready to continue our cooperation. All the pasticipants of the sitting expressed their consent to prolong the Mission’s activities for another regular term of 24 moths”, the Moldovan envoy informed.
Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Moldova Mr Sergiy Pirozhkov pointed out “the Mission’s activities turned out to be successful as far as consultative and technical aid to Ukrainian and Moldovan border and customs services is concerned.”
“The Mission’s main result is that the ‘black hole’ at the Transnistrian part of the border no more exists. Ukrainian party has expressed its unambiguous consent to continue the Mission’s operation”, Ukrainian envoy stressed.
Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Moldova Mr Sergiy Pirozhkov has stated Transnistrian conflict should be solved within the scope of Moldova’s territorial integrity taking into account Transnistria’s status.
Ukrainian envoy has stated it today, 11 April at the news conference on the results of the 16 sitting of EUBAM Advisory Council in Odesa.
“As to the settlement of Transnistrian conflict, Ukraine has a distinct position — it should be solved peacefully within the scope of Moldova’s territorial integrity taking into account Transnistria’s status”, the envoy said.
As to the Mission’s contribution to the settlement of Transnistrian conflict, it was stated at the sitting that it keeps keeps monitoring the employment of the Joint Declaration and Moldovan laws allowing to superwise duly the foreign trade activites carried out by Transnistrian companies. By the end of February 2011, 704 market participants had been registered in the Transnistrian Region, 213 of them on permanent basis, 491 — temporary.
Summing up the results of the Mission’s operation it was stated in 2010, the amount of people detained at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border has gone 16 percent down.
As was noted in the meeting, cases of illegal crossings and attempts to illegally cross the Ukrainian-Moldovan border still regularly occur on both sides of the border.
Overall, in 2010 there was a decrease (approximately 16%) of persons detained on both sides of the border for illegal crossing, the total number of detained offenders made 2 thousand 231 people, 27% of whom were arrested for illegal transportation of goods. The remaining category of detainees were residents of border areas who illegally crossed the border on household reasons, for example, to visit relatives, local markets, etc.
As was also noted at the sitting, the cases when people couldn’t provide the necessary documents or provided false ones have become problematic for the border services of Ukraine and Moldova. An overall amount of people providing fake documents at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border has made 69 people, which is 24 per cent less than in 2009.
90 per cent of the fake dopcuments were provided by Ukrainian and Moldovan citizens. There were also cases of fraudulent acts by Russians, Bulgarians, and Latvians.
In 2010, the services of both the countries, operating at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border, confiscated 6.7 kg of drugs, which is 6 times as little as in 2009. From all the attempts to smuggles drugs through the border they were mostly (91 per cent) easy drugs like marijuana, hashish and poppy straw, in nine per cent of cases they were heavy drugs — heroin, cocaine and opium.
72 cases of illegal transportation of guns through the sate border were disclosed in 2010, 115 units were confiscated. Most of those guns were confiscated at the near-border crossing points. The main kinds of weapons were pneumatic and hunting guns. There were no cases of smuggling fire guns.
Due to the growth rates of excise duty on cigarettes and alcohol products in Ukraine in 2009, significantly increased the risk of illegal movement of these products from Moldova to Ukraine. Existing market demand for cheap cigarettes without filter in Ukraine boosted the smuggling of such products from Moldova.
The services operating on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border are required to on the issue of illegal import of vehicles with invalid or forged documents. In 2010, 116 vehicles were detained at border crossings, 28 per cent more compared with 2009.
In most cases the cars were detained due to an excess period of temporary importation, inconsistencies, identification number, forged powers of attorney, detection of forged passports or the use of technical data sheets for the illegal importation.
80% of all cases were reported at border crossings.
EUBAM Advisory Board has adopted the action plan for the period till 30 November 2011.
The Phase 8 Action Plan is the framework for all EUBAM activities during the period 1 December 2010 to 30 November 2011. It was endorsed by the EUBAM Advisory Board at their 15th meeting on October 11th 2010. It is guided by the concepts of sustainability and continuity, yet the plan also includes a number of new activities to further enhance the Mission’s efforts to support the development of EU standards in border management in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.
Deputy Chairperson of the Odesa Regional Council Oleksiy Gonacharenko said EUBAM has done a great job to better the situation at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border line.
Adressing the EUBAM Chief Mr Udo Burkholder the official said: “On behalf of the Chairperson of the Odesa Regional Council My Mykola Pundik, I would like to thank you for the great work you and your personnel have been doing for several years now. Since 2005, you have done so much to stabilize the situation at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border line. We appreciate the efforts taken by the Mission over the years and we are very grateful for this.”
In 2011, UAH 900 thousand were reported allocated from the Regional Budget of Odesa for the Organization of Crossing Points on Ukrainian-Molodvan Border.
According to the official, the annual budget of the Mission, EUR 20 million, is entirely provided by the European Union. Aso f today, the Mission’s personnel is 226 people (80 of them are Ukrainians). Representatives of 19 EU member countries are also represented there.
In his speech, Mr Goncharenko pointed out that since 2005 a lot has been done to improve the situation on the border between Ukraine and Moldova, i.e. in the EU.
The official also reminded EU membership is Ukraine’s strategic goal and “it makes us treat EU organizations operating in Ukraine with special attention.”
“I am sure all partner organizations highly appreciate the Mission’s activites”, Mr Goncharenko informed. “In 2011, UAH 900 thousand will be allocated from the Regional Budget of Odesa for the Organization of Crossing Points on Ukrainian-Molodvan Border. These funds can be spent on three crossing points, and this is our aim.”
Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities have made the first steps to implementation of an international customs.
The agency has been informaed about it today, at the press office of the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM).
At a two-day round of tri-lateral meetings that completed its work at EUBAM HQ in Odesa today, the customs authorities of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine took their firsts steps towards implementation of a contemporary customs model that could revolutionize the way companies in both countries do business.
The ‘Authorized Economic Operators’ (AEO) concept is an international customs model endorsed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and World Trade Organisation which seeks to refine the customs process, including promotion of trust and transparency and a reduction in trade restrictions and delays. It has already been introduced by many customs administrations around the world, with 161 of 176 WCO members either having already implemented or expressed their intention to implement the concept. The European Union implemented it in 2008.
The benefits arising from AEO certification were presented to customs officials from Moldova and Ukraine by Ms Tonka Kostadinova, Policy Officer of Risk Management and Security at the European Commission body, DG TAXUD. Additionally, Mr Tomasz Michalak, the Director of the Customs Policy Department at the Polish Ministry of Finance, outlined the Polish experience in introducing the AEO concept in Poland.
AEO certification would confer significant corporate credibility on businesses in Moldova and Ukraine, and provide a more transparent and efficient business environment in which to trade. Adoption of the AEO concept and corresponding ‘mutual recognition’ – customs authorities in different countries mutually recognising one another’s AEO status – would represent significant progress in the reform of customs practice in Moldova and Ukraine towards EU and international standards.
Essentially, AEO certified companies would benefit from a reduction in time-consuming customs procedures. The model would contribute to the goal of supply chain security, introduce clarity over legitimate trading practice, and encourage economic operators to modernize their business practices.
Much of this week’s presentations and discussions related to the precise set of standards required to achieve AEO certification. EUBAM, through its Post-Clearance Control and Audit Specialist, will support its customs partners in both Moldova and Ukraine as they develop the concept. The next step will involve the creation of working groups tasked to outline a vision and strategy for the implementation of the concept, bearing in mind also the framework of standards provided by the WCO.
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