Today, the European Union signed a legally binding agreement with the Republic of Moldova on border management cooperation between Moldovan border guards and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The agreement was signed on behalf of the EU by Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs and by Philippe Léglise-Costa representing the French Presidency of the Council and, on behalf of the Republic of Moldova by Daniela Morari, Moldovan Ambassador to the European Union.
Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said:
“Moldovan actions in receiving and hosting people fleeing war in Ukraine have been impressive. Since the beginning of the war, Moldova has received the highest number of refugees per capita in the region. The EU stands by Moldova – through humanitarian support via the Civil Protection Mechanism, pledges to transfer people to EU Member States and now today through this agreement signed today, the EU will provide further assistance to support border management with the actual deployment of Frontex border guards in the territory of Moldova, to work hand in hand with Moldovan border guards in the performance of their work.”
Of the over 3 million people who have so far fled from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than 300,000 persons so far have sought safety in Moldova. Moldovan border guards are facing challenges both in view of the high number of arrivals and sharing a border with an active war zone.
To support the Moldovan authorities to address these challenges, this agreement will allow for increased deployment of Frontex teams. Their tasks will include border management support. This could encompass: screening, registration and identity checks of people crossing the border and border surveillance tasks, working hand in hand with the Moldovan authorities, as well as help in the collection and exchange of information. This could help support the transfer of persons to EU Member States in the context of the Solidarity Platform.
The draft decision on the conclusion of the agreement will be sent to the European Parliament, which needs to give its consent for the agreement to be concluded. However, based on a provisional application of the Council decision, additional Frontex staff can be deployed from today.
Today’s status agreement is the first based on the reinforced mandate of the European Border and Coastguard, and the fourth such agreement to be concluded with a partner country, after similar agreements were signed with Serbia in November 2019, with Albania in October 2018 and Montenegro in October 2019. Similar status agreements with North Macedonia (July 2018) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (January 2019) are pending finalisation.
The EU has been supporting Moldova to manage the large number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Moldova activated the EU Civil Protection on 25 February. 13 EU countries have made offers, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Finland, Romania, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. As of 15 March, 2.6 million of items have been offered and 2.4 million items are in their way or have been already delivered, that includes mainly shelter capacities but also medicines and hygiene items. In the context of the new Solidarity Platform coordinated by the Commission, 6 Member States made pledged to welcome 11,500 people transiting Moldova. The EU Border Assistance Mission has been relocated to Chisinau and is now providing direct support at the border crossings.
For More Information
Frontex Status Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova (will be available shortly)
Council adopts decision to sign agreement for Frontex operational support in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
The Council today adopted a decision on the signing of a status agreement between the EU and the Republic of Moldova regarding operational activities carried out by Frontex. The agreement will be signed today, so that Frontex operational support can be provided to Moldova as soon as possible under the provisional application of the agreement.
The Council also agreed to send the draft decision on the conclusion of the agreement to the European Parliament, which needs to give its consent for the final conclusion of the agreement.
A status agreement will allow Frontex to assist Moldova in border management, through the deployment of teams which can support Moldovan authorities in tasks such as registration and border checks.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over 300 000 refugees have entered Moldova and the number continues to grow. Moldovan border management authorities are facing the challenge of regulating this influx of refugees while monitoring a border with an active war zone.
The EU is currently providing support to these efforts through an existing working arrangement with Frontex concluded in 2008, which allows for information exchange, training and coordination of certain joint operational measures. On 14 March 2022, the Council authorised the opening of negotiations on a status agreement, which will allow for additional operational support to quickly respond to the current challenges.