By Yevgeny Ivanetsky
Mr. Rainer notes that work at the border has two sides. While co-operation is vital in strengthening control over transit of citizens and goods, borders should also be transparent and comfortable for legitimate tourists and commodities. “In this respect, we’re satisfied with the work of our Belarusian colleagues and wish to continue collaboration,” he underlines.
The European Commission has spent around 50m Euros over the last decade on projects across various states and plans to spend another 40m Euros — to include projects at the Belarusian border.
In particular, it’s planned to reconstruct Peschatka border checkpoint on the Belarusian-Polish border. The EC plans to cover 90 percent of the cost, with almost 11m Euros allocated. Another project aimed at enhancing the quality of control is to be implemented on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, with financial assistance provided to Belarus and Ukraine; new equipment and educational training courses are planned. In total, 2.6m Euros are allocated, shared equally between each country.
Vasily Zorin, the Head of the Belarusian State Border Committee’s Department of Preliminary Investigation, notes that such measures primarily make it possible to co-ordinate the activities of border guards. He explains that changing situations worldwide and various military conflicts have raised migration flow. “Belarus is a transit state, with the whole flow of illegal migrants to EU states passing directly across the Belarusian border,” he explains.
Since 1992, around 30,000 illegal migrants have been registered in Belarus. However, as a result of improved methods and legislation, the flow has fallen sharply. Mr. Zorin underlines that, at present, the situation regarding illegal migration in Belarus is under control.
The workshop On Applied Legislation and Migration Control Procedures at the State Border was held with support from the EU’s TAIEX programme. The two day forum tackled issues of co-operation in the sphere of migration control and the formation of migration control procedures. The seminar brought together over 60 representatives of Belarusian border services and the Interior Ministry, with border experts from Slovakia, Finland, Latvia, Spain, Hungary, Estonia and Germany attending.