The 10th meeting of the Eastern Partnership’s (EaP) Integrated Border Management (IBM) Panel place in Minsk on 11 June. The event was held under the 1st Platform of the EaP (“Democracy, Good Governance and Stability”). The morning session of the Panel mainly concentrated on various IBM actions implemented in the EaP countries, while the afternoon one focused more on the implementation of the countries’ IBM Strategies and Action Plans, as well as the project selection results for 2014. IOM delivered two presentations, namely on IOM Belarus ongoing IBM projects (such as SURCAP 1-2, PRINEX, RANBEL) and general overview of IOM’s activities in the IBM sphere in the EaP region.
EU representative informed the participants that the former ENPI strategy will be replaced in 2014-2020 by the ENI Regional Eastern Strategy with a focus on 3 major dimensions, namely: i) support of political associations, ii) economic integration and iii) civil society reforms, including promoting people-to-people contacts. While the size of the financial envelope is yet to be determined by the EC, it is expected that the EaP countries will get up to 75% of the total amount. Moreover EU called on the eligible countries to already start developing and communicating to them project ideas for 2015.
The countries, in turn, updated the Panel about the status of the adoption of their national IBM strategies and the implementation of the concomitant Action Plans. All 6 countries stay committed to incorporating the IBM principles into their national border management strategies, although some are more advanced in terms of IBM implementation while others, like Belarus, are still in the process of adopting the strategy.
The FRONTEX representative informed colleagues about the kickoff of the regional project targeting all 6 EaP countries entitled “Eastern Partnership IBM Capacity Building project” with a budget of EUR 4,5mln and 3-year implementation period (2014-2016). Among main project partners are WCO, IOM, ICMPD, whereas among partners responsible for specific activities: EU MS, FRA, UNODC, UNHCR, EASO, IACA, EUBAM. The overall objective of the action being “Facilitating of the movement of persons and goods across the borders of 6 EaP countries, while maintaining the borders secure via the enhancement of interagency, bi- and multi-lateral cooperation among target countries, EU MS and other project stakeholders such as IOs”.
At the end of the Panel there were discussed potential topics for the next meeting in Brussels, such as joint border control operations, shared BCPs with the 3rd countries, joint patrolling and Common Contact Points, Schengen Code, projects at EU’s external land borders, etc. Finally it was mentioned that the 12th Panel meeting will take place during Latvia’s EU presidency in Riga on June 16, 2015, while the 13th – in Chisinau, Moldova in early November 2015.