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Sharing know-how for better management of the Schengen Border between Slovakia / Ukraine and Norway / Russia.


It's a research and educational project aimed for better management of Slovak-Ukraine Schengen border. In all activities, the core idea is to transfer Norwegian know-how from the EU-Norway relations and Norway-Russia CBC relations for the enhancement of the EU/Slovak-Ukrainian relations, for bringing closer of Ukraine to the EU, and for enhancement of the border & migration management.

Project aims are:

  1. to improve of existing shortcomings in the quality of human resources of customs and border institutions, particularly in education and communication of Slovak and Ukrainian border guard and custom officers by trainings, research stays and developing study manuals for them;
  2. policy improvements and facilitated regulations for better border management;
  3. to improve of information providing, not only among expert community and between state and non-state actors, but also to general public;
  4. to create of better conditions at the border crossings, esp. by recommendations for better border management and speeding up control procedures of passengers;
  5. support initiatives leading to policy change in favour of improved conditions at border crossings;
  6. to establish and build up with Norwegian know-how special study program at University of Presov on "Border Studies".

The key long-term expected impact of the project is represented by the improvement of Slovakia/EU/EEA-Ukraine relationships, solving the mutual problems and disputes among Schengen border and enhancing border management, custom procedures at border crossings at SK-UA Schengen border. Further impacts of the project: increase of the quality and formation of environment for quality and efficient applied and academic research on border studies, institutionalization of the cooperation, partners networking and creation of new and strengthening of existing expert capacities in the border region of Slovakia-Ukraine, improvement of policy making at regional, national and international level, esp. to policies related to migration, border and custom procedures. At least 40 experts from partner institutions are assumed to be included in the project activities and the participant/target groups will include more than 550 persons directly participating on the project activities.

Project start:     October 2015
Project end:     April 2017


Project relevance and outputs

The project consisted of research and educational activities which were aiming at improving management of Slovak-Ukrainian Schengen border, including living conditions in the border regions. The goal has been also to transfer Norwegian know-how from the EU-Norway relations and Norway-Russia CBC relations with the aim to enhance the EU/Slovak-Ukrainian relations as well as bring Ukraine closer to the EU, including in the area of border & migration management. This project has been a follow up to former activities of the Research Centre of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association that have been implemented since 2007 with the focus on monitoring of the SK-UA border management, migration and development of the border regions. Since 2009 the aim of RC SFPA activities has been also to evaluate impact of the Schengen border on socio-economic conditions in the border areas.

The project has addressed the following main challenging tasks:

  1. elimination of existing shortcomings in the quality of human resources of customs and border institutions, particularly in the field of education of Slovak and Ukrainian border guard and custom officers as  well as channels for their communication;
  2. improvement of both policy and regulatory frameworks for better management of common border;
  3. improvement of information about border management, border handling procedures, migration, etc. not only among expert community and state and non-state actors, but also to general public in Slovakia and Ukraine;
  4. improvement of technical and procedural conditions for border crossings;
  5. advocacy activities aimed at a change of policy approach towards improving conditions at border crossings;
  6. establishment of a special study program on “Border studies” at the University of Prešov applying a Norwegian know-how in the field.

The expected a key long-term impact of the project is the improvement of Slovakia/EU/EEA-Ukraine relations, facilitation of finding common solutions to mutual problems related to Schengen border management, including custom procedures at the border crossings at SK-UA border. In addition, the following are other expected impacts of the project: formation of a favourable environment in border areas for both applied and academic high quality research on borders; institutionalization of cooperation and networking of actors from border areas, including strengthening of existing expert capacities in Slovak-Ukrainian border areas; improvement of both policy planning and making at regional and national level, esp. when it comes to policies related to migration, border and custom procedures.

Implemented project activities can be structured into the following five categories: 1) research; 2) trainings of border police and custom officers; 3) policy and expert discussions; 4) establishment of the study program on “Border studies” at the University of Prešov; and 5) small investment actions aimed at improving technical conditions at the border crossing Vyšné Nemecké – Uzhgorod.

Research activities consisted of: A. Border research, including field research in the SK-UA borderland aimed at analysing perceptions and preferences of key stakeholders and citizens, i.e. how they see functioning of the Schengen border, legal and illegal migration, conditions for CBC, etc. It also included a desk research – analysis of the situation on the border, including migration trends. Part B. of the research activities focused on monitoring of the SK-UA border, esp. on functioning of the BCPs and their management. Research also included analysis of the EU-UA visa liberalization process and impacts of “visa free” regime with Ukraine on the SK-UA border.

Outputs of the research were published in 2 project publications and 8 policy papers. In addition, Norwegian experts drafted 2 policy papers on CBC between Norway and Russia.

Special weekly training courses for UA and SK border police & custom officers were organized in Slovakia. Topics included border management, border control, counterfeiting and alteration of travel documents, as well as language training. Norwegian partner organized special workshop for SK and UA migration experts and custom officers in Kirkenes.

Four international conferences were organized within the project with the aim to discuss migration situation and management of the SK-UA border. 6 methodology/expert workshops were organized with the aim to facilitate the transfer of know-how and research methods among researchers. 2-week research & cooperation stays were organized for border police and custom officers, and migration experts from SK and UA.

The important project activity has been the establishment of the course on „Border studies“ at the University of Prešov. Border studies became part of the study program of students studying political science since September 2016. The project facilitated the elaboration of the concept of the course (study guide), elaboration of teaching materials (1 text-book and 6 working books for students), including accreditation of the course. Thanks to the project we have installed 10 big-boards with border and tourist information in the BCPs areas, 15 directional signs to guide travellers to BCPs, trash bins, benches, including purchased equipment to maintain the area of BCP Vyšné Nemecké - Uzhgorod.

The main outputs of the project can be summarized as follows:

  1. Academic and policy applied research: policy recommendations (publications, policy papers, seminars and workshops) aimed at improving border and migration management on SK-UA border, including cooperation between EU/EEA/SK and Ukraine;
  2. Education and training activities aimed at know-how transfer: introduction of an accredited "Border studies" course at the University of Prešov, which develops capacities of students in the field of cross-border cooperation following the pattern of the Nordic countries; and professional and language trainings for SK and UA policemen and customs officers aimed at improving their performance and cooperation at the border crossings as well as communication between SK and UA border officials;
  3. Networking: creation of a network of institutions that deal with migration and border issues with the aim to maintain their follow-up cooperation in the field of monitoring of the border regime, conducting common research and  exchange of information on migration and related cross-border issues.
  4. Investment: increasing public awareness of the border crossings, migration, and cross-border cooperation in the SK-UA border areas, including through the installation of directional signs and purchasing equipment for the maintenance of a land area of border village Vyšné Nemecké.

The university course on “Border studies” launched at the University in Prešov since 2016 is the first of its kind at all in Slovakia, but also in the whole region of Central Europe (as well as in Ukraine). The aim in the future is to extend this study program to other universities in the region. The project has facilitated extensive research on the border regime and at the border region. By its scope, and by its comprehensive focus, the research team managed to collect and to process unique data. In addition, important outreach of the project is a transfer of know-how to Ukrainian partners. On Ukrainian side two partner institutions took an active part in the research what helped to develop their respective capacities and to implement similar projects in Ukraine. In a sum, 2 main research publications and 10 policy papers were elaborated and published within the project, 4 international conferences and 12 workshops and training courses were organized and attended by 660 participants, 1 university study course has been developed and launched into operation, including 1 text-book and 6 working books for university students. Finally, network of research and education organizations dealing with migration and border studies in the SK/UA border region has been established.

 


OUTPUT INDICATORS

Indicator Original value Aim value Reached value
       
Project output indicators      
Initiatives focused on border crossings conditions improving 0 3 3
Public institutions responsible for border regime and border crossings involved in the project related activities 0 4 4
Initiatives leading to policy change in order to improve conditions of border crossings 0 4 4
Size of the modernized and renovated land surrounding border crossings (m2) 0 3200 3200
       
Project result indicators      
Number of border management researches 0 1 1
Publications related to the main research topic 0 2 2
Policy Papers 0 10 10
International conferences 0 4 4
Trainings, seminars and expert events 0 12 12
Number of participants 0 550 660
Programs transferred from Norway 0 1 1
Textbooks and education workbooks 0 7 7
Networked institutes for education 0 5 5

Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Staromestská 6/D, 811 03 Bratislava, Slovak Republic