The EU support HUB for internal security and border management of the Republic of Moldova

The European Union Support HUB for Internal Security and State Border Management (HUB) of the Republic of Moldova is an operational mechanism that hosts regular meetings of the EU representatives, European agencies, EU Member States and the authorities of the Republic of Moldova, to support cooperation in the field of European security and border management.The priority activity areas of the EU HUB are aimed at increasing the level of security of the Republic of Moldova and the EU space, by reducing the risks and threats in the fields of drugs, arms and human trafficking, illegal migration, radioactive substances trafficking and cybercrime.The EU Support HUB was created on the initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the framework of the visit to Chisinau of Mrs. Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs.The conclusions of the analytical products, based on the information collected as of Februarie 24th 2022, show the trend of shaping the illegal activities of organised and cross-border crime while using the present humanitarian chaos as a catalyst. The alarming figures of criminal cases with a cross-border component have reconfirmed the need to institutionalize the European Union Support Centre for Internal Security and State Border Management in Chisinau. Moreover, hybrid threats are on the rise and take various forms, ranging from bomb threats to disinformation and radicalization attempts.Thus, in order to institutionalize a complex approach, the commitment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Intelligence and Security Service, the Customs Service and the Service for Preventing and Combating Money Laundering was officialised on November 18th 2022 by Joint Order no. 567/93/65/372-0/17 on the European Union Support Centre for Internal Security and Border Management in the Republic of Moldova.The overall objective is to provide a comprehensive, coordinated and unified approach for preventing and fighting all forms of crime, extending the European Security ecosystem beyond the borders of the European Union, so that the Republic of Moldova strengthens its position as a regional and European security provider.

The 10th meeting of the EU Security HUB: Large-Scale Justice and Home Affairs IT systems

28 May 2024. Chișinău hosted the 10th operational meeting of the EU Security HUB, an event with the main theme focused on large-scale justice and home affairs it systems. The event brought together senior officials and security experts from the European Union and the Republic of Moldova, including the Minister of Internal Affairs, Adrian Efros, and the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks, as the keynote speakers.

Minister of Internal Affairs, Adrian Efros, highlighted the importance of the event: „If until now the Republic of Moldova was in the process of harmonising its legislation with the EU’s large-scale IT systems, we now have eu-LISA experts in our country, which on the one hand means an even closer rapprochement of our country with the EU, and on the other hand shows the trust that the European agencies have in our country’s authorities.”

The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks, declared: „In order to streamline the implementation of EU policies in the field of justice and home affairs, IT systems have been set up and are managed by eu-LISA, the European Union Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice. Thanks to the smooth functioning of the systems managed by eu-LISA, EU citizens can travel freely in all EU Member States without compromising Europe’s security. In the context of Moldova’s status as an EU candidate country, the European Union will provide Moldova with the necessary support, including the integration of the best IT solutions in the field of justice and home affairs.”

This operational meeting was a key opportunity for the Republic of Moldova to discuss and partner with European experts to integrate and optimise large-scale IT systems. These systems are fundamental for strengthening internal security and efficient border management of the Republic of Moldova.

During the meeting, the Republic of Moldova presented the current state of its large-scale IT systems and related infrastructure, discussing expectations and challenges in the context of integration with European systems. Topics such as biometric identity management and resilience of critical IT and communication infrastructure were also addressed.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs thanked all participants for their contribution to the success of this meeting and reaffirmed its commitment to work together to ensure a strong regional security belt.

Strategic Dialogue in Chisinau: 9th session of the EU Security HUB to strengthen integrated border management

Between Februarie 15 and 16, 2024, Chisinau is hosting the 9th session of the EU Security HUB, focusing this year on regional cooperation for security and integrated border management.

The event gathers approximately 100 top-level officials and security experts, including the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson; the Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks; the Chairman of the Defense, Public Order and National Security Committee of the Romanian Senate, Nicoleta Pauliuc; the Chairman of the National Security, Defense and Public Order Committee of the Moldovan Parliament, Lilian Carp; the Adviser to the Moldovan President on defense and national security and the Secretary of the Supreme Security Council of the Republic of Moldova, Stanislav Secrieru.

Discussions during the two-day 9th HUB session will focus on improving integrated border management based on interoperability between agencies such as Europol, Frontex, police forces from European countries and institutions in the field of defense, security and public order in the Republic of Moldova. This effort aims to enhance the capacity to identify and assess regional security risks, ensure quality services at the state border, increase personal safety, reduce waiting times at state border crossing points, and significantly diminish smuggling, illegal migration, and other illicit activities at border entry and exit points.

The aim of the event is for state institutions and European partners to jointly consolidate strategic directions and agree on actions and operational deliverables to be implemented, reaffirming the commitment to close collaboration to ensure regional and European security.

“Sitting at the same table, we can have a macro-level picture of risks and threats, being able to act in an integrated and focused way in order to remove the dangers immediately. It proves once again that together we are stronger in the fight against war, hybrid forms of war, cross-border crime, organized crime, drugs, arms, terrorism, extremism, illegal migration and other criminal aspects related to war in our neighborhood”, said Minister of Internal Affairs, Adrian Efros

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said: “The European Union remains firmly committed to working closely with the Republic of Moldova to ensure regional security, especially as Russia’s unjustified war on Ukraine continues in the neighboring country. We are in constant dialogue to identify the needs of the Moldovan authorities in terms of capacity building for law enforcement and border management. I firmly believe that the EU Security Hub session now taking place in Chisinau will bring our cooperation on border management to a more advanced level.”

According to the EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks, the European course of the Republic of Moldova also implies an increased focus on internal security and border management, with the ultimate goal of people’s safety. “Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine continues to generate security challenges in the region, which is why the meeting of the best experts in the field from the EU, our Member States, and the Republic of Moldova is crucial these days. I am confident that together we will identify the most effective strategic directions in this area, so that people can feel secure in these complicated times”, EU Ambassador added.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs thanked all participants for their contribution to the success of this session and reaffirmed its commitment to work together to ensure a strong regional security belt.

Drug trafficking trends and risks on the European continent, increased drug demand, logistical routes and regional dynamics were discussed today, 9 November 2023, at the 8th session of the EU Security HUB for Internal Security and Border Management in Republic of Moldova (EU Security HUB).

The 8th operational meeting of the Security Hub was organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) in partnership with the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova and the Directorate-General for Migration and Internal Affairs of the European Commission (DG HOME). The event was attended by both key experts from eight EU member countries and European security practitioners, including Olivier Onidi, Deputy Director General of DG HOME; Jurgen Ebner, Deputy Executive Director of Europol (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation); Gabor Kemeny, Deputy Head of the International Cooperation Unit of CEPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training); and representatives of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

The host of the event, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, Adrian Efros, noted that: “Together we proved that we are pursuing that main objective of the HUB: the complex, coordinated and unified approach to preventing and combating all forms of crime, moving the European security ecosystem beyond by the borders of the European Union”. “Of course, we could not have done this without the valuable support of EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson and the EU Council Presidencies of the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain,” reiterated Minister Adrian Efros.

“We are facing a huge challenge that knows no borders – the scourge of drugs. Imagine this fact: €30 billion annually, this is the value of the illegal drug market in the European Union alone. It’s not just huge, it’s the biggest and most profitable criminal market of all. Transnational criminal networks exploit the Republic of Moldova as a transit hub for drugs, transporting enormous quantities of hashish, cocaine and heroin in eastern and western directions. That is why we must work together to address this complex challenge”, specified Olivier Onidi, Deputy Director General of DG HOME.

“On the part of the EU, we are committed to working together with Moldova in addressing the drug trafficking challenge, using a wide range of tools, including political support, financial assistance, operational support, technical expertise and capacity building opportunities. Today’s discussions will contribute to defining our future joint actions”, said Jānis Mažeiks, the ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.

During the discussions, the dynamics of the challenges and risks of drug trafficking were addressed. Participants emphasized the need to combat it through significant catches and review of existing schemes. At the same time, the experts present appreciated the international cooperation, the exchange of information and the responsibility of each involved party to create a short of security in the European region.

The EU Security HUB is a common platform that provides information, infrastructure and expertise to the Republic of Moldova and EU countries in order to strengthen internal security. The general objective of the HUB is to prevent and combat forms of crime, increasing the security of the EU, but also of neighboring countries. Thus, the Republic of Moldova will contribute to regional and European security.

CONTEXT
The agenda of the European Union (EU) security HUB for internal security and border management in Moldova for the year 2023 includes improving the capabilities of analysis and strategic forecasting in the field of security, by leveraging the IT field, hybrid threats and their combat, drug trafficking and combating it, but also the exchange of information in the field of security and border management between the experts of the Republic of Moldova and the EU.

The Hub was designed as a joint operational group, facilitator of connection between specialists and a platform for strategic discussions. During a year of activity, the EU Security HUB has helped to adjust the European security architecture according to the latest developments in cross-border crime and hybrid threats, and several results have already been achieved, including:

– Design and implementation of the system for identifying criminal trends for the European area, based on the informational indicators quantified on the territory of the Republic of Moldova;

– Around 110 operational actions in which the Republic of Moldova participates during 2023 on the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT);

– Elaboration of the first Moldovan Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analysis and presentation to the European Police Office Europol (EPO Europol) as a national contribution for the design of European analytical products;

– More than 15 joint investigations with the support of Europol with reference to emerging trends in transnational crimes;

– The Republic of Moldova was the country-organizer of the first 2 meetings of the Eastern Forum on security and border management, bringing together national police chiefs, border police and senior officials from more than 10 countries on the Eastern European flank.

Access the platform https://maisigurinue.md/ to follow the evolution of the development and innovation activity of the internal affairs system and the cooperation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova with the European Union.

For more details on the results obtained by the EU Security HUB during one year of activity, go to: https://maisigurinue.md/parteneriate-mai-sigure-ca-rezultat-al-hub-ului -of-security-of-the-eu/

Hybrid threats in the spotlight of experts at the 7th EU Support HUB meeting in Chisinau
Innovative methods of collaboration and coordination to prevent the consequences of hybrid threats were discussed on September 21st on the platform of the EU Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in the Republic of Moldova (EU Support Hub). Hybrid threats refer to actions carried out by state or non-state actors whose aim is to undermine or damage a target through a combination of military and non-military overt or covert means.

The 7th operational meeting of the EU Support HUB was organised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in partnership with the European Commission, the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova and the EU Partnership Mission to Moldova (EUPM Moldova).

The event, co-chaired by the MIA and the EUPM Moldova, was attended by key European security experts and practitioners, including Mr Mindaugas Lasas, Head of Sector Hybrid Threats at the European External Action Service (EEAS); Mr Cosmin Dinescu, Head of the European Union Partnership Mission to Moldova (EUPM Moldova); Frank Paul, Internal Security Advisor for relations with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), European Commission.

The operational meeting was focused on countering hybrid threats and was attended by strategic and operational experts from EU Member States and the Republic of Moldova, together with representatives of European institutions and agencies such as Frontex, Europol and Cepol. The participants met to discuss best practices and effective ways to address hybrid threats, including based on Republic of Moldova’s experience.

Since its launch, the HUB has been designed as a common operational platform to facilitate the connection between specialists and create a forum for strategic discussions. Over a year of HUB activity, tangible results have been achieved and are contributing to improving European security in line with the latest developments in cross-border crime and hybrid threats. The results include:

About 110 operational actions in which the Republic of Moldova participates during 2023 on the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT);

Development of the first Moldovan Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analysis and its submission to the European Police Office Europol as a national contribution for the design of European analytical products;

Over 15 joint investigations with Europol support on emerging trends in cross-border crime;

The Republic of Moldova hosted the first two meetings of the Eastern Forum on Border Security and Management, bringing together heads of national police, border police and high-ranking officials from more than 10 countries on the Eastern European flank.

’Thanks to the support of our European and international partners, Moldova has raised awareness on hybrid threats and manifestations and has formed a community that contributes and attracts resources to increase the resilience of Moldova and the EU alike. This would not have been possible without the constant support of Commissioner Ylva Johanson and the EU Council Presidencies of the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain’ said Adrian Efros, Minister for Internal Affairs.

‘The subject of today’s meeting is very relevant for the Republic of Moldova and the whole region. Moldova is suffering from the repercussions of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the ongoing attempts to destabilise the country. In the context of evolving security challenges, the EU-Moldova security cooperation has intensified considerably in recent years in order to support Moldova’s resilience and enable it to play an active role in regional security’ said Jānis Mažeiks, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.

‘We act in a spirit of partnership, in line with our full appreciation of the prompt, determined and capable approach of our partners in the Republic of Moldova. EUPM Moldova’s strategic and integrated support through advice, training and equipment should be understood as an unwavering and firm commitment of the EU Member States to Moldova’s resilience, stability and security. We remain Moldova’s security partner on its path towards EU integration’ said Cosmin Dinescu, Head of the European Union Partnership Mission to Moldova (EUPM Moldova).

The event is another step towards strengthening capabilities to combat hybrid threats across Europe. Thanks to strategic and operational cooperation, through intensified exchanges of both qualitative and quantitative relevant data, a stronger security shield for the European region is established.

Cooperation and coordination on the EU Support Hub platform in Chisinau aimed at countering terrorism
Chisinau, May 10th, 2023: The most efficient methods of collaboration and coordination aimed at preventing the threats of terrorism on the European continent are discussed today on the platform of the European Union Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in the Republic of Moldova (EU Support Hub). The sixth operational meeting of the EU Support Hub is organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union in the Republic of Moldova and the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission (DG HOME).

Key European counter-terrorism experts and practitioners are attending the event, among whom Mr Ilkka Salmi, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Ms Erika Ferrer, Chair of the EU Council Counter-Terrorism Working Party, Mr Sayed Aly, on behalf of the Swedish Presidency of the Council, and Mr Martin Shieffer, Head of Unit for Counter-Terrorism at DG HOME.

Experts from 14 EU countries, together with representatives from Frontex, Europol and Cepol, are currently assessing how to implement the Roadmap of the Support Hub, given the worrying consequences of the war in Ukraine on cross-border crime and terrorism.

The Activity Report for the first six months and the Plan for the development and integration of the Hub into the European security ecosystem were approved two months ago during a meeting in Brussels, co-chaired by European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, and attended by 14 representatives of EU interior ministries. The main task of the Hub’s Working Groups focused on large arms and ammunition captures. Three weeks later, Romania reported a major seizure of 1,200 Stalker 9mm pistols. And this is just one of the cases of illicit arms trafficking, which happens in the proximity of our country, in an EU Member State and which has negative impact on the security of thousands of citizens of the Republic of Moldova, but also of the EU community.

The seizures of arms and ammunition in Europe, the involvement of people of different nationalities in arms smuggling, the increase in legislative fraud and illegal border crossings are directly linked to terrorism. At the same time, there are clear signals for the security expert community to review the risk indicators and standard operating procedures for such situations and to cooperate. Key security authorities from Germany, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Austria, Croatia, Malta, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Bulgaria and Italy analyse in depth phenomena that must not be neglected in the new European security architecture.

Sharing intelligence and expertise will help Moldova and the EU to better understand networks, money flows and common weaknesses of countries that allow criminals to cross borders undetected.

As Moldovan Minister of Internal Affairs Ana REVENCO said in her opening speech, no EU member country has currently the capacity to analyse 1,200 weapons in due time to ensure that no war criminal remains free and continues committing more illegalities until forensic analysis of the weapons is carried out in order to enforce the law.

I once again express my gratitude to EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson, the Czech, Swedish and Spanish Presidencies of the EU Council, who have understood from the very beginning that the EU and Moldova can join forces and expertise to make the European continent more resilient and provide all citizens with the safety and security they deserve and need. I thank H.E. Jānis MAŽEIKS for the continued support in strengthening our efforts for safety and security in Moldova, in the region, in Europe, said Minister Revenco.

The recently approved €40 million assistance provided through the European Peace Facility, the support to be provided through the EU Partnership Mission to Moldova (EUPM Moldova) and our fruitful collaboration in the field of home affairs are just some of the latest examples of how the European Union continues to support the Republic of Moldova in its efforts to build resilience and play an active role in the regional security. We will continue to work together in the spirit of Team Europe to deepen and strengthen our cooperation, stated Jānis MAŽEIKS, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.

The 2023 Agenda of the Support Hub includes the improvement of strategic analysis and forecasting capabilities in the field of security, by enhancing IT and information exchange between Moldovan and EU experts. The Hub also aims to create synergies and avoid duplication of spending on home affairs in Moldova and the EU.

On the platform https://maisigurinue.md/ one can follow the dynamics of the development and innovation activity in the field of home affairs and the cooperation of the Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs with the EU.

The operational results of the EU Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in the Republic of Moldova were assessed on March 9-10, 2023, in the context of the European Union Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting in Brussels.

According to the briefing note presented by Commissioner Ylva Johansson to the members of the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, the EU Support Hub, established last year, has achieved results that speak in favour of strengthening this mechanism.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Moldova has provided relevant analytical products in the field of transnational crime, hybrid threats and risk incidents for regional and European public security. These include the first Moldovan Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) analysis provided to Europol.

After reviewing the activity report for the first six months, European officials discussed proposals for the further development of the EU Support Hub. A technical session was also held on greater involvement of the Republic of Moldova in the EU counter-terrorism mechanisms.

Ylva JOHANSSON: Good morning, everybody! I am very happy to be near together with Minister Revenco. But before coming into todays’ topic, I would like to say a few words on last night. There was a terrible attack on a church in Gross Borstel, district of Hamburg. Attacks are always despicable. But attacks on places of worship, by definition – places of peace, are truly shocking. As Chancellor Scholz has said, this is a brutal act of violence. My thoughts are with the victims and with their families and friends. I will also give a special mention to the Hamburg Police, who reacted with speed and incredible bravery, bringing people to safety. I have been in contact with the Interior Minister today, in the morning, and of course we stand ready to support in the way in might be needed.

For today, I am very happy to host the fifth meeting of the EU Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in Moldova, today together with Ana, here in Brussels for the first time. Previous meeting took place in Chisinau. We will also have together with us today several Ministers from the MS, but also Deputy Ministers and State Secretaries, so that I am very happy that we may have this high-level meeting of the Security Hub today.

Moldova plays a key role in safeguarding Europe’s internal security.  Moldova is a beneficiary of our support, but is also a provider of security to the EU and contributes to our common security.

Today we will discuss what we have achieved since the Hub was created in July 2022, during the Czech presidency. We will also discuss further solutions in the fight against crime and threats from Russia towards Moldova and the EU, and look how we move forward to make further progress.

Some of the achievements I would like to mention to you:

-Moldova has become a provider of security, working closely with our Member States, mainly via European agencies such as Europol, CEPOL and Frontex.

-We negotiated, you and I, in record time the status agreement that allows the deployment Frontex border guards.

-We now have 82 standing Corps officers for border checks and surveillance in Moldova.

-Moldova has also taken part of joint investigations in 10 high-profile human trafficking cases, involving minors and a major identity fraud case facilitating irregular migration to the EU.

-After the Hub was created last summer, Moldova participated in the EMPACT Joint Action Day, which focused on migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and related document fraud. This led to solving 2 of 3 human trafficking cases, detection of 14 out of 89 false documents and 30 million USD in cash. To name a few. So, our cooperation is really bearing fruit.

-Information exchange and operational cooperation is key, investigations leading to Moldova joining 16 operational actions coordinated by Europol.

-Our intention is to intensify our close cooperation further and this we will discuss today.

-We will discuss the roadmap of the Hub for 2023. We will focus on improving Moldova´s crisis management capacity, to early detect emerging trends and patterns of transnational crimes, hybrid threats and incidents.

-I would like to use this opportunity to thank Moldova also for welcoming refugees from Ukraine. You were one the most impacted neighbouring country of Ukraine: more than 700 000 Ukrainian refugees passed through your country.

-I am very pleased that our cooperation is making such great strides. Anything that will improve Moldova´s security will not only benefit Moldova, but will also improve the security of the European Union.

– The EU will continue to support Moldova. You can count on our continuing support. Thank you!

 

Ana REVENCO: Thank you, Commissioner!

Dear all, we are gathered today in an innovative format set up by the DG Home, the Justice and Home Affair Council and the Republic of Moldova – the EU Security Hub in Chisinau. It is meant to increase the all the European resilience to the threats posted by Moscow. The Russian aggression in Ukraine has definitely tough us an important valuable lesson: that together we can be stronger and we can build a sustainable future in Europe and protect democracy.

We are addressing today innovative solutions to increase efficiency in the fight against transnational crime and the hybrid war jointly with several EU MS Ministers of Internal Affairs, the law enforcement specialists from EU but also from Moldova. In this way, in this format, we are looking into defining short and medium-terms strategies design to support the Security Hub for it to become a real-time response mechanism to the trans-national criminality and hybrid war; mechanisms valuable and so much needed for Europe and the Republic of Moldova including.

Moldova is already a provider of security and we are grateful very much Commissioner, for all your support, that you trusted us and the support that we are receiving on a daily basis through such extension of knowledge, of tools and of course for the courage to look into these innovative ways that we build democracy and protect democracy here, in Europe.

Thank you very much madam Commissioner and thank you very much to my all peer colleagues from the MS who will be participating today at the Hub and who also extend their support through all the daily operations that my fellow colleagues are participating in.

Question: Which is the degree of the Russian threat to Moldova and is there a real danger Moldova could become the next Ukraine? Thank you.

Ana REVENCO: I am often asked whether Moldova is the next target and I only have one answer: the democracy and peace in Europe is the target. We are only in the second line of Russia’s aggression whereas Ukraine is courageously fighting to keep the war front far from us but we are definitely seeing and feeling, on a daily basis, the consequences and the overlapping and the complexity of the crisis and including the explosion of all possible elements and manifestations of the hybrid war. The situation in the Republic of Moldova continues to be extremely volatile; we are seeing how Moscow and interested groups and fugitive oligarchs are putting together all their efforts and resource, intended to increase the level of destabilization in the Republic of Moldova to the degree that is meant to change the democratic course in Chisinau, that would definitely influence the way we are seeing and feeling peace now in our part of Europe. Of course, all the law enforcement forces in the Republic of Moldova, along with the security and other law enforcement agencies, are working hand in hand, but the reunion that we are having today in Brussels proves once again that we can only be sustainable and address all the threats, keep and protect democracy in Europe only if unity our efforts. Technically speaking, we are seeing how the trend of cross-border criminality unfortunately is steadily increasing and that is a manifestation, anticipation that we had since the beginning of the war. Madam Commissioner referred today to a number of joint operations that we’ve, all together, put here in order to prevent and address firmly all the consequences of this war that are attempted to destabilize the peace and security in Europe. Moldova is only on the way of Russia’s intention to break this stability and, again, we can only keep it and protect it if we are united.

Ylva JOHANSSON: I fully agree what the Minister just said and I just can add that Putin is not only there to destroy Ukraine as a country, to destroy Ukrainian as people, as a culture. We should not be naive. Putin also would like to destroy, destabilize, divide European Union, and of course also Moldova. And that’s why this fight to support Ukraine is so important and to stand firm against Putin and that’s why our cooperation in the area of security is so important. We will not let Putin win!

Briefing here: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-238215

  1. The mission of the internal affairs system changed during the war. The exponential growth of migration, humanitarian assistance, incidents (eg false bomb alerts, missiles falling on the territories of states bordering on war, etc.), transnational crimes and hybrid threats have put and continue to put pressure on security forces. order.
  2. The internal affairs system has faced challenges outside of traditional policing, including measures to prevent Covid-19, social disruption caused by economic problems and inflation, humanitarian issues generated by war, and the energy crisis accompanied by ongoing social unrest. in some European countries. These actions complemented crime prevention and combating activities, which caused staff fatigue and resource wastage.
  3. Energy blackmail, instrumentalization of migration, sanctions and lawlessness zones generated by war are causes that affect the European continent and will get worse.
  4. Large volumes of drugs, arms and ammunition or other substances seized by countries should be subjected, as soon as possible, to certified laboratory tests to be used in forensics as evidence for the prosecution and conviction of war criminals , organized groups and high-profile targets. A country does not have the capacity to draft thousands of weapons that could be seized at the border. The longer the procedure takes, the less chance there is to catch the criminals and the more time they have to continue their illicit operations. Discussions are needed to understand whether it is possible to establish a European mechanism to distribute such large seizures, so that several laboratories in different countries can carry out, in parallel, such expertise.
  5. Eastern Europe and the EU need new formats and improved mechanisms for law enforcement cooperation, adapted to current risks and threats, in order to quickly exchange information and knowledge, to secure cross-border communication networks and systems.

Conclusions of the Eastern Forum of the Security Belt of Europe

6. Eastern Europe and the EU need new formats and improved mechanisms for law enforcement cooperation, adapted to current risks and threats, in order to quickly exchange information and knowledge, to secure cross-border communication networks and systems.

7. Traditional internal affairs organization charts and job descriptions need to be revisited. As there are multiple crisis formats, staff can no longer work in isolation and interdisciplinary interventions and mechanisms must be developed as best practices and standard operating procedures.

8. Our shared experience of hybrid and asymmetric tactics used at government level to disrupt democracies by antagonizing the population and weakening state institutions should be exposed in the EU and used as a practical example to improve the legal toolkit and cross-border cooperation.

9. The countries of the Eastern Security Belt: the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Finland, Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Ukraine, should pay more attention and raise awareness public at the EU level on the long-lasting effects of the war, thus calling for a paradigm shift in internal affairs policies, with joint contributions and actions for and from all stakeholders, regardless of their membership or non-membership status EU.

10. Developing the EU Security Hub to become a common strategic, tactical and operational framework for rapid, secure and continuous law enforcement cooperation, including information sharing, mutual legal actions, connecting regional knowledge with technology state-of-the-art, removing barriers to investigations and evidence collection (eg language, limited capabilities).

11. The use of collective mechanisms (common tools, common databases and commonly recognized procedures) for the identification, collection and exchange of evidence, including digital, with already determined and tested tools, aimed at jointly responding to threats and incidents caused by explosions, attacks chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear.

The 4th meeting of the Security Center was dedicated to the topic of investigating the financial aspects of organized crime and the financing of terrorism. The event took place between December 6 and 7, 2022, Chisinau municipality.

Reducing the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing has been defined as a common objective that can only be achieved through the exchange of tools available for investigations, the establishment of international criminal investigation teams, the strengthening of international cooperation in the field of the exchange of financial information and evidence that facilitates actions against criminals and their assets.

The 3rd meeting of the Support HUB was focused on preventing and fighting human trafficking and illegal migration.

The event took place during the period October 20th-21st 2022, in Chisinau.

The European Commission’s request is that Moldovan specialists together with the Europol will draft, for the first time, a joint report on this phenomenon by integrating and collating data from the European Union and the Republic of Moldova.

The knowledge and bilateral contacts made during the first two meetings of the EU Support HUB have already established the basis for cross-border operations in the field of human trafficking.

During the period July-September 2022, the Ministry of Interior Affairs has made significant efforts to set up inter-institutional cooperation mechanisms in order to fulfil the tasks outlined during the first meeting of the HUB.  Efforts are aimed to provide national and not sequential perspectives on different areas, with the goal to submit to the European partners – statistics, trends and phenomena, based on figures collected at national level in the field of security and not separately on each law enforcement institution.

From the EU perspective, the request was made for an increase in the volume of data and information provided to the European cooperation formats in order to integrate them into the strategic reports submitted to the Council and the European Commissions.

In this regard, the main results of the meeting of September 7th  2022 were the revitalization of inter-institutional cooperation in Moldova and the recognition by the European partners of the importance of the data provided by Moldova.

The delegation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova participated on July 11th 2022 at the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU, being the first time when the Ministers of Internal Affairs of non-EU states (Moldova and Ukraine) have been invited by the Czech Republic, as a state holding the rotating chairmanship of the EU.

During the first meeting, the consequences for internal security caused by Russian aggression against Ukraine were discussed, in particular arms and ammunition trafficking, document forgery, human trafficking, money laundering, hybrid threats, and measures to tackle and counter these risks.

The Republic of Moldova participated for the first time at an international activity – focused on the fight against organised crime on the territory of the EU countries.

The subdivisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (General Police Inspectorate, General Inspectorate of Border Police, Bureau for Migration and Asylum, General Inspectorate оf Carabineers) participated during the period October 26th -29th  2022, jointly with the Customs Service and Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Causes and with 18 other EU Member States and 10 non-EU countries, in tactical and operational actions to fight firearms, drugs, migrants and human trafficking.

16,000 officers were involved in operational activities, carrying out the operation in the main areas: the Balkans and South-East Europe.

As a result of intensified controls at the EU’s external borders, 382 arrests and 130 new criminal cases have been recorded.

In this way, the EU Member States ensured the information flow and carried out operational actions at national level.

In total, the activities led to 382 arrests of suspects, most of them involved in drug trafficking, facilitation of illegal immigration, document fraud and firearms trafficking. The arrests and evidence taken have allowed law enforcement authorities to launch 130 new investigations.

The Moldovan authorities have checked 1,147 persons, 1,383 cars, 33 homes and organisations, 1,929 postal packages. They have also detained 12 persons, identified and seized 3 weapons and 92 cartridges, launched 3 investigations (illegal migration, weapons, drugs) and detected 1,5 kg of drugs. 33 persons have been refused to enter the territory of the Republic of Moldova.

Overall results of the Joint Action Days:

74,924 people checked

998 locations checked

32,665 vehicles checked

2,004 packages checked

382 arrests: 159 (migrant trafficking), 112 (drug trafficking), 38 (arms trafficking), 2 (human trafficking), 71 (other crimes)

2,476 illegal entries detected

Findings include:

106 firearms: 43 guns, 42 pistols, 6 compressed air pistols, 1 anti-personnel mine, 1 air defence system, 15 grenades, 2 assembly machines, 2 anti-tank missiles and 12,250 pieces of ammunition.

Drugs: 304 kg of heroin, 103 kg of cannabis, 44 kg of marijuana, 5402 marijuana plants and 1.3 kg of cocaine.

The Concept on the establishment and functioning of the National Firearms Focal Point was approved on September 6th 2022, by Order of the GPI no. 297/2022. This activity is being carried out following the conclusions of the Support HUB’s meeting of July 2022, as well as in order to align and implement the 2020-2025 EU action plan on firearms trafficking (Brussels, COM-2020-608-F1).

This is the first result following the establishment of the EU Support HUB, which means linking to the European model, joining the platforms for expertise exchange and participating to the Joint Action Days – which take place in the same period in all the EU Member States.

The mechanism for the organisation, coordination and management of activities in the context of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) was established on July 22nd 2022, by Order 349/2022 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Thus, the National Focal Point on cross-border organised crime investigations and the National Focal Point on weapons and ammunition were nominally designated.

EMPACT is an ad hoc management environment to develop activities in order to achieve pre-set goals. It is a structured multidisciplinary co-operation platform of the relevant Member States, EU institutions and agencies, as well as third countries, international organisations and other (public and private) partners to address the prioritised threats of organised and serious international crime.

The relationship between EMPACT and the EU Support HUB for Internal Security and State Border Management consists of offering the Republic of Moldova the possibility to participate in the European policy cycle in the field of security.

Among the specific objectives of the EU Support HUB, the following should be mentioned:

  • The EU Support HUB will ensure the secure exchange of actionable information (via the secure SIENA channel) with all the EU-wide law enforcement agencies;
  • The Republic of Moldova will focus, via the HUB, the process of updating the Council and European Commission strategies in the field of internal affairs;
  • Facilitating the accession process of the Republic of Moldova to the European Union;
  • Access to the European research and documentation models;
  • Extending investigative and documentary powers, thus discouraging the development of cross-border organised criminal groups;
  • Inclusion of Moldovan practitioners in the networks of the European specialists; thus, the HUB contributes to increase the motivation of the staff through the recognition of professional capacities and skills;
  • Inclusion of the regional perspective offered by Moldova to the European security ecosystem contributes to the updating of the EU’s high-level security policy documents;
  • Increasing the EU’s level of security given that Europe’s security depends to a large extent on Moldova’s resilience.

The act to launch the EU HUB for Internal Security and Border Management of the Republic of Moldova, which operates in Chisinau, was signed on July 11th 2022, in the Czech Republic. The act was signed by DG Home, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and Minister of Internal Affairs Ana Revenco.

This new body, designed to adjust the European security architecture to crisis situations, such as the one generated by the war in Ukraine, is launched just two months after Minister Ana Revenco and her team had proposed to Commissioner Ylva Johansson to establish a structure in Chisinau for strengthening the security of the European space, including the Republic of Moldova.

From this point on, the Republic of Moldova strengthens Europe’s security belt and becomes a security provider for the European area.

‘Only thanks to the intervention of Commissioner Johansson and the determination of the Czech Minister of Internal Affairs, we are succeeding today, after only two months, to set security anchors beyond the EU space. A small step for us, professionals in the field of interior affairs, but a big step for the peace and tranquility of the citizens of the whole Europe, including the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. Basically, we are together strengthening Europe’s security belt neighboring the war’, said Minister Revenco during the signing ceremony in Prague.

‘Since the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s troops on Februarie 24th, we have been working hard to support Ukraine. We have also worked to protect our joint security. Moldova is an invaluable partner in this regard. The EU Support HUB for Internal Security and Border Management in Moldova represents a big step for our joint security’, said Commissioner Johansson, thanking Minister Revenco and her team for their visionary and proactive thinking and determination to make the HUB operational in Chisinau.

Representatives of the security structures of all the EU states and European internal affairs agencies will soon work in Chisinau.

The HUB’s priority activity areas will focus on reducing the risks and threats that have been jointly identified by the EU and Moldova, including drugs, arms and human trafficking, illegal migration, radioactive trafficking and cybercrime.

The main goals of the HUB are to enhance capacities in law enforcement and border management, in particular through improved exchange of information, analysis and international operational cooperation.

The ceremony was attended, in addition to the signatories of the act, by the Czech Minister of Internal Affairs, Vít Rakušan, the Director of EUROPOL, the Director of FRONTEX and other EU and international organisation officials.

Minister of Internal Affairs Ana Revenco attended on July 11th  2022, the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, which is made up of justice and interior ministers from all the EU Member States. This is the first time when a minister from a non-EU state is invited to attend the JHA meeting. The Ukraine’s Minister was also invited to the JHA Council meeting on July 11th.

The Justice and Home Affairs Council is developing cooperation and common policies on various cross-border issues with the aim of building an EU wide area of freedom, security and justice. JHA members discussed for the first time the redesigning of the European security architecture by extending the European security area that would include the Republic of Moldova.

The EU Ministers of Internal Affairs discussed an innovative approach with concrete aspects of developing the European security ecosystem by launching a HUB of the JHA in Chisinau. Two months ago, the Republic of Moldova proposed to the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, to establish an EU Security HUB in Chisinau, for better security and resilience to the risks and threats caused by the war in Ukraine, a proposal that has been accepted by the EU states. With the establishment of this structure in Chisinau, the Republic of Moldova becomes a security provider for the European space, forming together with the EU member states a fortified security belt neighbouring the war.

Under the umbrella of this EU HUB in Chisinau, representatives of all EU law enforcement and judicial agencies, representatives of EU countries, of national internal affairs systems will draft, jointly with employees of the Moldovan internal affairs system, strategies to fight against arms, drugs, heritage and art, human trafficking, terrorism and other organized crime activities, which are forcing the borders of the states neighbouring the war.

The Chisinau HUB will contribute to more stability and security at our borders and a safer social climate. Also, such a body in the Republic of Moldova would allow our law enforcement institutions to have access to advanced equipment, enlarged infrastructures, access to information and better training modules for employees.

INTRO: Once the EU Security HUB is launched, European policies are to be implemented in the Republic of Moldova to support law enforcement institutions in tackling risks such as cross-border and transnational organised crime.

July 11th 2022

‘The HUB will enhance our joint operational action with Moldova to address the challenges posed by organised crime, including the trafficking of firearms or trafficking in human beings. It will also help Moldova to participate in our EU tools and instruments on internal security’ said  European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.

July 11th 2022

‘The EU Support HUB will serve as a gateway for the Moldovan authorities to access EU cooperation and support mechanisms and is testament to our strong commitment to an ever closer partnership’ stated  European Commission vice president for Protecting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas.

July 12th 2022

President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sanduwelcomed the signing of the Agreement on the creation of the EU Support HUB in Chisinau, and mentioned that it will bring more stability and security in the country and in the region.

‘This is the first time the European Union opens, outside its borders, a HUB of support for internal security and border management – in the Republic of Moldova.

We are thus contributing to the consolidation and expansion of the European security area, which from now on will include our country’, noted President Maia Sandu.

July 12th 2022

‘It is certain that once the HUB is launched here in Chisinau, we will benefit of more technology, more qualitative access to real data…We will also have a more intense and qualitative exchange of data, we will have access to funds allocated for the HUB activities, and the HUB activities meaning better security for our citizens and for the European space’, said Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, Ana Revenco.

July 20th 2022

The launch of the EU HUB for Internal Security in Chisinau is ‘the first achievement’ after Moldova has been granted EU candidate status. This means that we will have access to valuable information, in order to be able to solve issues quickly and efficiently, without having things degrade”, said Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Grosu.

September 7th 2022

‘Security is not an abstract concept. Security is about real challenges. The HUB will focus on concrete challenges, difficulties and issues.’ pointed EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks.

September 7th 2022

‘The security of the Republic of Moldova is also the security of the European Union. The idea of this HUB is to build a platform where experts from different force institutions will delegate experts to come to the Republic of Moldova and cooperate with local specialists’ mentioned Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) at the European Commission, Oliver Onidi.

Februarie 6th  2023

Moldova’s prime minister, Natalia Gavrilita highlighted that the EU Support HUB in Chisinau has achieved ‘successful efforts to stop trafficking of arms and people’.