On 13-14 June the Panel Meeting on Integrated Border Management was held in Minsk. The event was hosted by Belarus (State Border Committee of Belarus) with the support of the European External Action Service, DG HOME and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mission in Ukraine under the framework of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Panel on Migration, Mobility and Integrated Border Management.
The Panel Meeting gathered representatives from the European External Action Service, DG HOME, EUBAM, EU High-Level Expert Team on IBM in Ukraine, Frontex, EU Member States (Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine), international organizations (IOM, ICMPD, UNHCR) and civil society.
The Panel Meeting provided an occasion to discuss recent developments in the European IBM; approaches to IBM strategies both at the EU level, including Technical and Operational European IBM strategy recently developed by Frontex, and the country level (in the EU Member States and Partner countries); integrated approach to “green” border surveillance; as well as continuous EU support to cross-border cooperation in the EaP region.
The importance of practical aspects of the implementation of the IBM concept was emphasized at the meeting. As noted Radoslaw Darski, Deputy Head of Division, Eastern Partnership, Regional cooperation and OSCE, EEAS, “the IBM is not a one-size-fits-all approach – on the contrary, national IBM strategies should be adapted to particular circumstances on the ground”. The importance of further development of inter-agency and intra-agency cooperation as well as cooperation between Partner countries was also highlighted by the Meeting participants.
On the second day of the meeting, a field visit to “Molodechnenskaia” border guard unit at the Belarus-Lithuania border was organized for insight into activities and best practices of the State Border Committee of Belarus.