Frontex initiates first-line border checks outside EU

Frontex marked a significant milestone in international border cooperation as the agency’s officers, for the first time, carried out first-line border checks at a border outside the European Union. The event occurred at the Palanca border crossing point, located between Moldova and Ukraine, where Frontex officers began performing border checks alongside Moldovan colleagues.

Frontex Executive Director, Hans Leijtens, attended the launch ceremony along with Diana Salcutan, Deputy Head of the Moldovan Border Police, and Serhii Deineko, Head of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service.

“This is a historic moment. For the first time, we are cooperating with countries outside the EU to perform our primary job—securing borders, in this case, the Moldovan borders. In these difficult times, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the Ukrainian people. I also offer my steadfast commitment to aiding Ukraine as much as possible,” Frontex Executive Director Hans Leijtens said.

The launch is part of Frontex Executive Director’s wider visit to Moldova, which included a meeting with Adrian Efros, the Moldovan Minister of Internal Affairs. During the meeting, Moldova and Frontex signed a Memorandum of Understanding, focusing on a complaints mechanism, which aims to address any allegations of breaches of fundamental rights during operational activities.

Hans Leijtens noted, “Moldova sets an example in its cooperation with Frontex, and we are fully committed to providing ongoing support to our partners here.”

Adrian Efros, Moldovan Minister of Interior, expressed his gratitude for the model cooperation with Frontex. This partnership has been instrumental in fighting various forms of cross-border crime, including smuggling of firearms, illicit goods, child trafficking, and migrant smuggling.

In a trilateral meeting with the heads of the Moldovan and Ukrainian Border Police, the discussion centred on how Frontex can bolster operational cooperation to address both current and anticipated challenges.

Frontex Joint Operation Moldova is the first comprehensive operational activity in a non-EU country that includes land and air borders under the same coordination structure. Frontex currently has 90 EU border guards in Moldova for border checks and surveillance.