At the moment, Eastern Partnership countries could benefit more from having a clearer operating mechanism, ensuring efficient cooperation between relevant agencies and civil society organisations. Here, civil society has a role to play – for example, in monitoring human rights issues, that arise at the border – notes Irina Sushko (Europe without Barriers, Ukraine), who represented Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) at the last Migration, Mobility and Integrated Border Management (IBM) Panel. IBM promotes multilateral cooperation and a more long-sighted, regional approach to solving border issues.

While the EU should continue to “provide active technical and financial support” in its implementation, EaP countries should work on “better interagency communication, coordination and cooperation”, said Sushko. We see a need for “a clear, practical separation of powers, tasks, functions and instruments”, in order to avoid inefficiency and duplication of responsibilities. The Panel, which took place in Minsk on 13-14 June 2019, also included a field trip to the border between Belarus and Lithuania – where the Belarusian authorities presented some “on-the-ground”, practical dimensions of border management.