One year after the outbreak of the pandemic, international cooperation on border management to ensure health security remains a topic of crucial importance.
This is why on 5-6 October, Frontex held a workshop on health and safety at the borders in cooperation with the Polish Border Guard, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the General Secretariat of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council (AIMC).
The event provided an opportunity for dialogue and the exchange of best practices between national, regional and international entities dealing with border management, public health, and transport from both sides of the Mediterranean. It brought together over 50 experts from Arab countries, European Commission, EU agencies and member states.
Discussions centred around improving cooperation in two main areas:
- across disciplines - between border guards, customs services and health authorities,
- across borders - to share information on early warnings and risk assessments in order to prevent the potential spread of viruses and other health risks between countries.
Frontex and other EU agencies also highlighted the risk of environmental crimes at the borders, including bio-terrorism, smuggling of counterfeit medical products and forged health or vaccination certificates.
“I am glad that we could bring together so many experts to discuss health and safety matters in border management. Cross-border health threats can only be addressed if we work together,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri when opening the conference.
“Frontex, together with Member States, plays a key role in ensuring effective protection of the external borders of the European Union not only against cross-border crime, but also against health threats and the wider challenges that COVID-19 has brought to border control,” he added.
The event was organised within the framework of the EU4BorderSecurity project, funded by the European Neighbourhood Instrument and implemented by Frontex. Running until August 2023, the project seeks to enhance border security in North Africa and the Levant by fostering bilateral and regional cooperation.