Modernising Ukraine’s EU Border
January 30 saw the unveiling of new state-of-the-art X-ray scanning equipment at Lviv Oblast’s Rava Ruskaborder crossing, the latest technological leap forward in efforts to bring Ukraine’s border with the EU into the 21st century. Since the expansion of the European Union’s visa-free Schengen Zone to the borders of West Ukraine in December 2007, improving way the shared frontier is policed has become a priority issue for both Kyiv and Brussels. Supporters of Ukraine’s greater Euro-integration have been encouraged by the high level of cooperation that has so far been achieved by both sides over border control improvements, with Lviv Oblast being a particular focus. Lviv has historically served as Ukraine’s window on Europe, and this has also meant that it has been a focus for illegal border activity including smuggling and, in more recent timers, people-trafficking, but the introduction of new Euro-standard procedures and tighter administrative controls as well as new technologies has done much to ease concerns over the threat to the EU posed by weak border controls in Western Ukraine. Ambassador Jose Manuel Pinto Teizeira, who heads the European Commission Delegation in Kyiv, was in Lviv region to witness the unveiling of the new scanning technologies and praised local officials for their willingness to support joint border control initiatives with the EU.