I am speaking on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
We welcome the US initiative to discuss strengthening the UN’s capacity to assist Member States in securing their borders against illicit trafficking and movement of materials, funds and goods, as well as human beings. We should all aim at better coordination of all UN bodies contributing to the fight against these illicit cross-border trafficking and movements.
As we all know, in the context of globalisation, borders cannot now be perceived as barriers. The fluidity of circulation of goods, funds and persons is of great importance to trade, economic prosperity and human development. Facilitation without lowering security is therefore important for all trade, financial and cultural flows.
At the same time, international terrorism and organised crime have increasingly profited from globalisation and technological progress to facilitate the development of illicit trafficking and movements, generating illegitimate gains, seriously undermining through corruption and violence the stability and development of States and regions which viciously further creates a conducive environment to these illicit activities.
For the EU and its Member States, border management is a priority area of action to address and prevent these threats and challenges. Integrated border management, linking migration management tools as well as control of the movement of goods and funds, underpinned by an intelligence-led and multidisciplinary approach, is part of the EU comprehensive panoply in the fight against ever more sophisticated and often interconnected forms and groups of international organised crime and terrorist groups and activities.
The EU is addressing these threats related to smuggling and trafficking of goods and persons at the borders by applying Global Approach to Migration and Mobility. The role of the EU’s border agency, FRONTEX, has recently been strengthened, for example to allow it to share personal information on those suspected of cross-border crimes with Europol and other European agencies and to cooperate more closely with the countries of origin and transit.
All this effort is supported by relevant legislation and coherent policies in particular in the area of control of illicit movement of goods, funds and persons, transport security, maritime surveillance, and international cooperation. EU blue prints such as EUROPOL, EUROJUST, the European arrest warrant and the joint investigation teams as well as police and customs cooperation provide us with efficient mechanisms to better tackle terrorism and organised crime.
Support to relevant UN international legal instruments and to UN programs of technical assistance, as provided for example by UNODC, should help to further augment international cooperation to address these global threats and challenges.
The fight against illicit cross-border trafficking and movements requires international cooperation, sharing of best practices and standards and the exchange of information and intelligence to develop a comprehensive picture of the threats and facilitate a coordinated approach. Ensuring the proper implementation of sanctions regimes, for which effective border management is also relevant, is important.
Integrated border management is only one element, but a key one, in the global effort to ensure better effectiveness of the international community against illicit cross-border trafficking and movements. Where efficient tools already developed by organisations such as Interpol, the World Customs Organization and the International Maritime Organisation, as well as EU agencies, are in place, they should be systematically used instead of ad hoc solutions which may prevent long term sustainability and ownership of UN assistance. Numerous UN Agencies are directly or indirectly involved in these domains with different scopes and mandates and its enhanced coordination is foreseen.
Let me assure you our appreciation for taking up this important topic today. The EU and its Member States provide political, technical and financial assistance to UN agencies and other partners in numerous regions of the world. We would therefore welcome, and stand ready to assist, the proposed diagnostic assessment by the UN Secretariat in order to focus our efforts in the most effective way possible.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.