For the first time, officials from customs institutions and border police of the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine gather in Chisinau to discuss the current cross-border crime risks in the region and agree on joint solutions in this regard. The event also raised the interest of the diplomatic community, public institutions, as well as the business environment.

The conference aimed to serve as a platform for dialogue to strengthen cooperation between the law enforcement institutions of the three countries, especially in terms of countering cross-border crime. During the three panel discussions, which focused on Smuggling of excisable goods and illegal production and illicit financial flows, Cross-border trafficking of arms, dual-use goods and Drug Trafficking, Drug Precursors and Anabolic Steroids, participants had the opportunity to assess and address changing crime trends and identify new ways of inter-agency cooperation to improve joint operational actions.

In his opening speech, H.E. Ambassador of the European Union in the Republic of Moldova Janis Mazeiks noted that a number of important reforms were made in the areas of fight against organised crime and money laundering, as part of Republic of Moldova’s package of measures to combat smuggling and illicit financial flows: “The country’s anti-terrorism legislation is generally aligned with the EU acquis and applicable international law. Nevertheless, capacity should be strengthened to counter smuggling, corruption and the new challenges, such as cybercrime, illicit cross-border financial flows, including via virtual currency, and improve the general preparedness and response to these crimes. The EU remains committed to support the country on this path.”

The Director General of the Customs Service, Igor Talmazan, stated: “The Customs Service is firmly committed to joining efforts and intensifying international cooperation to effectively fight against illicit trade in goods. In particular, increased attention is directed to combating the illicit traffic in tobacco products, which represents a global problem, has direct links with organized crime and terrorism networks. However, cigarette smuggling, including counterfeit products, is currently assessed as one of the most serious security risks on the Moldovan-Romanian and Moldovan-Ukrainian border segments, significantly affecting the budgets of the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and the EUmember states”.

It is proposed that the Conference takes place on a regular basis in the future and serve as a platform for Moldovan, Romanian and Ukrainian counterparts for exchange of information and best practice and finding joint solutions to common challenges of Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.